We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Tensions between acts over Israel's presence on display at Eurovision press conference

The Dutch act called on Israel’s singer to answer a question about performers’ safety concerns.

TENSIONS OVER ISRAEL’S presence at the Eurovision Song Contest were clear last night as performers from the ten acts who qualified from the second semi-final answered questions from reporters at the post-show press conference. 

Earlier in the night, there had been audible booing in the Malmö Arena as the country’s singer Eden Golan and her dancers took to the stage. There were also loud cheers for her performance throughout her time on stage, including from groups of Israeli fans. 

Israel’s appearance in the competition comes in spite of a longrunning campaign by pro-Palestine groups to have the country excluded by contest organisers the EBU. 

After the show around 200 people were packed into the large press conference room, where the moderator – as he had following Tuesday’s semi-final – allowed three questions for each act. 

When Golan — the 20-year-old singer who won her chance to compete for Israel by winning a longrunning TV talent show earlier this year — was asked whether she felt her presence in the contest was putting other performers at risk, a member of her delegation sitting beside her at the top table advised that she did not have to answer. 

Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who was seated beside the Israelis, intervened to ask loudly, “why not?”

Golan – who, it appeared, had been about to answer the question anyway before her delegation member stepped in — responded that “we are here for one reason and one reason only”.

“The EBU is taking all safety precautions to make this a safe and united place for everyone. So I think it’s safe for everyone.”

joost-klein-representing-the-netherlands-with-the-song-europapa-and-eden-golan-representing-israel-with-the-song-hurricane-during-a-press-meeting-with-the-entries-that-advanced-to-the-final-after Joost Klein of The Netherlands and Eden Golan of Israel. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

A number of reporters, including Newstalk’s Henry McKean, asked the singer about contestants’ safety worries as the formal press event ended. 

“Share love,” was the singer’s initial response to the Irish reporter. “I’m so grateful for everyone for supporting me,” she said of her qualification for the final. 

“My love is endless to you all.”

Asked by a Swedish journalist about the Dutch act’s interruption and to give an answer to the question about performers’ safety, Golan responded, “I did”.

As the reporter then asked if she was uncomfortable with “everything that’s going on” she answered: 

“No. I feel great and I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time and I’m doing my job and I’m…”

The brief Q&A came to an abrupt end as the young singer and the other acts were whisked away for photos.

Golan and her team — which appeared to number in the dozens, including her security protection — spent some time in the media centre, a much larger room beside the press conference centre, afterwards, but didn’t answer any further questions from non-Israeli reporters. 

Earlier in the press conference, Klein had been asked whether his entry Europapa, which refers to various countries and includes lyrics about wanting Europe to come together could “unite us by music”. 

After a long pause, the singer responded with a smile: “I think that’s a good question for the EBU.” 

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.