Over 1 artists - including Eric Saade, Robyn and Timbuktu - want to exclude Israel from Eurovision, citing the country's war in Gaza. But the artists' appeal has drawn criticism on, among other things, Dagens Nyheter's editorial page. Photo (left): WAfa/APAimages. Source: Wikimedia commons. Photo (right): AnnCatrin Blyckerts. Source: Wikimedia commons.

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Week 6: Artists call for Israel to be excluded from Eurovision

As the European music competition Eurovision song contest approaches, voices around the world have been raised calling for Israel to be removed from the contest - due to the war in Gaza. In a debate article, over 1 artists call the television union EBU for double standards, and Israel's participation in Eurovision for a "trivialization" of violations of international law. Dagens Nyheter's editorial board, on the other hand, believes that it is not hypocritical at all to want to boycott Russia but let Israel into the music competition.

In a debate article in Aftonbladet 1 artists criticize the EBU for not excluding Israel from the Eurovision song contest. The artists believe that the EBU's decision to let Israel compete demonstrates a double standard that undermines the organization's credibility. The refers to the EBU's exclusion of Russia from the 2022 competition due to its invasion of Ukraine, and the recent decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague to proceed with allegations that Israel has committed crimes against the Genocide Convention.

- That countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcomed to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible, the artists write.

"It's not about double standards"

Dagens Nyheter's editorial staff also resonates with Israel's participation in Eurovision. They believe that there are certainly several similarities between the conflicts - in both the war in Ukraine and the one in Gaza one side clearly stronger than the other, they lead to enormous suffering among civilians, and in both cases there are strong indications of violations of the laws of war. But they also argue for the differences between the conflicts, and that a comparison of them is based on fundamentally incorrect and misunderstood reasoning. They believe that the position taken by the EBU is in fact not about any double moral standards at all.

- When it comes to the war in Gaza, there is no right and no wrong, or rather: both right and terrible wrong. Both Israel and the Palestinians have legitimate demands. One can be critical of Israel's conduct of war and condemn Hamas' terrorism and still accept that both Israel and the Palestinians have reasonable claims, writes DN's editorial board.

Among other things, the debaters underline that what separates the two wars is that one is a war against an organization branded as a terrorist that wants to erase a democratic state from the map - and the other is an unprovoked attack by an authoritarian dictatorship on a democratic state. Therefore, the debaters add, the moral liabilities in the Israel-Gaza conflict are much more complex and not nearly as clear-cut as in the invasion of Ukraine.

- The fact that you want to treat the wars in Gaza and Ukraine differently does not make you a hypocrite, they write.

Hanne Kjöller, lead writer at Dagens Nyheter, goes further with this criticism and says that the artists debating in Aftonbladet fail to make an important distinction in what she calls "the ready-made opinion package of the populist left".

- The thus fronts its inability to see the difference between a dictatorship waging a war of aggression against a peaceful neighbor and a democracy trying to defend itself against a hostile neighbor and hostage-taker, she writes.

Israel in the Eurovision song contest

1005 artists: Exclude Israel from Eurovision 

1005 Swedish artists, among others Erik Saade, Robyn, Mauro Scocco, Aftonbladet Debatt 

Don't confuse the wars - Gaza is not Ukraine 

Dagens Nyheter's editorial staff 

The attempt to stop Israel from Eurovision shows how embarrassingly one-eyed the cultural left is 

Hanne Kjöller, Editorial writer, Dagens Nyheter

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