You just can’t win with the BDS movement if you aren’t anti-Israel enough for their standards.
While all of Israel was reeling from the Iceland band’s defiant display of Palestinian flags at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement rejected their gesture saying it wasn’t enough – they should have boycotted the contest altogether.
“Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists crossing our peaceful picket line,” said the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, an arm of BDS. “Artists who insist on crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line, playing in Tel Aviv in defiance of our calls, cannot offset the harm they do to our human rights struggle by ‘balancing’ their complicit act with some project with Palestinians.”
The Eurovision contest was held in Tel Aviv this year thanks to last year’s victory by Israel’s Netta Barzilai. And by all accounts—except for Madonna’s horrible performance—it was the best Eurovision ever. Eurovision began as a way of uniting Europe after the devastation of World War II. Israel has won the competition four times.
In the past few months, BDS tried to organize boycotts and protests of the event. But they were unsuccessful, as thousands of tourist filled Tel Aviv and discovered that we are not a war-torn enclave, but a thriving democracy, fill with friendly people, beaches and great restaurants.
In fact, one of the single most powerful moments in the competition was a performance by the Shalva Band, the Israeli band made up of special needs young adults. They pulled out of the competition months ago because they could not perform on Shabbat. Still, they were invited to sing while the votes were being counted. Over 200,000,000 peole saw it and were blown away!
“Many viewers at home said the performance brought them to tears. The group received a long standing ovation at the end of their song, and host Bar Refaeli appeared to be holding back tears as she remarked on their performance.” (source)
Eurovision does not allow any king of pollical expression—it is all about the songs—however, the band members of Hatari from Iceland—an overtly homosexual/sadomasochist act—held up Palestinian flags as their vote total was announced during the competition finals. Previously the punk band promised to use the Eurovision spotlight to expose the “face of the occupation.” But aside from the flags, the band did not criticize Israel and instead said: “We need to unite and remember to love … hate (is) on the rise in Europe.”
Ironically, the band members, if they ever had the chance to perform their lewd act in Gaza, they would be most likely thrown off a roof (literally) or beheaded and dragged through the streets by Hamas. Islamic radicals don’t take kindly to the LGBT community.
Political overtures of any kind are against Eurovision’s official policies. The European Broadcast Union said the flag display contradicted its rules and may carry consequences.