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Israel's Eden Golan performing in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the Malmö Arena. Alamy Stock Photo

Israel’s Eurovision team says it faced ‘unprecedented display of hatred' at song contest

The Eurovision organisers this week said it ‘regretted’ the behaviour of some delegations both in Malmö and during broadcasts.

THE ISRAELI DELEGATION at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has claimed it faced and “unprecedented display of hatred” from other acts.

The Eurovision is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is an alliance of public service media organisations within the European Broadcasting Area.

In a statement to the BBC yesterday, Israel’s public service broadcaster KAN said its delegation “maintained a dignified and respectful approach.”

KAN told the BBC: “The Israeli delegation faced immense pressure and an unprecedented display of hatred, notably from other delegations and artists, publicly and collectively, solely because of the simple fact that we are Israelis and that we were there.”

The KAN spokesperson added that Israel’s delegation “maintained a dignified and respectful approach towards artists and other delegations, striving to foster unity around music while adhering to the competition’s rules, unlike some other delegations”.

This year’s Eurovision proved to be controversial, with Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug heavily criticising the EBU for its stance on Israel’s status in the Eurovision.

Bambie Thug also accused Israeli national broadcaster KAN of inciting violence against them.

river (86) Bambie Thug arrives for the flag parade before the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

According to RTÉ, a commentator on KAN warned TV viewers with children tuning in on Tuesday that Bambie Thug’s performance would be “the most scary” of the show.

The commentators added that there was some controversy about the song in Ireland and that the singer also liked to “speak negatively about Israel” before adding, “prepare your curses”

Bambie Thug told reporters after the final: “So now that I am free I can talk about everything right? KAN, the broadcaster, incited violence against me twice, three times.

“We brought it up to the EBU, they said they’d follow up. They waited until the last minute, we still haven’t got a statement back,” they added.

“They allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves.”

Bambie Thug also said they hope Israel would not be allowed to partake next year due to the conduct of KAN.

Bambie Thug’s participation in the final had remained an open question until the start of the event.

The singer said in a statement on social media just hours before the show started that they were awaiting a response from the EBU on an alleged breach of rules by KAN commentators during their semi-final performance.

Bambie Thug did not give a performance at a dress rehearsal, known as the Family Show on the afternoon of the final, and has said the atmosphere behind the scenes had been horrible.

Israel was represented by singer Eden Golan and Lithuania’s Silvester Belt said performing after Israel in the final was “one of the worst things I had to go through”.

He described is as a “traumatic experience” in a post to X, while Eurovision winner Nemo of Switzerland said that “whole experience was really intense”.

download (2) Nemo of Switzerland celebrates after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Elsewhere, Dutch act Joost Klein was excluded from the final following a complaint made by a female member of the production crew following his semi-final performance.

The EBU said at the time that it “would not be appropriate” for Klein to continue in the contest “while the legal process takes its course”.

There had been speculation that the incident in question was related to the Israeli contestant Eden Golan or her delegation, following a tense exchange at a press conference on Thursday, but the EBU said this is not the case.

In a statement earlier this week, the EBU said it “regrets” that some delegations did not “respect the spirit of the rules and the competition both onsite and during their broadcasts”.

The EBU added that the event’s governing body will discuss “individual cases” at its next meeting in an effort to “move forward in a positive way and to ensure the values of the event are respected by everyone”.

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