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A London Cinema Hall Declines to screen the Eurovision Song Contest Final as Long as Israel remains in the competition

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Cinema Rio in East London, which has hosted screenings of the competition in previous events, posted yesterday on its social media accounts: ‘We have collectively decided not to screen the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest this year while Israel remains in the competition.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a song competition held annually and organized by the European Broadcasting Union, features each participating country presenting an original song performed live and broadcasted through the Eurovision and Euroradio networks. Following the performances, countries cast votes for each other’s songs to determine the winner.
This year’s edition will take place in Malmo, Sweden from 7 to 9 May with the Grand Finale set on 11 May at 9 PM. and calls for boycott are intensifying by the day.

Why would Israel participate in the Eurovision since it doesn’t belong to the European union?
The eligibility to participate in the contest is based on membership in the European Broadcasting Union. According to the Union’s statutes, membership is primarily limited to organizations within the European Broadcasting Area, as defined by the International Telecommunications Union. This area stretches from the Atlantic to the meridian 40 degrees east, and is bounded on the south by the 30th parallel. Jerusalem, the official headquarters of Israeli Television, falls at 35 degrees east and on the 32nd parallel. Interestingly, this definition also allows for participation by Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia.

The principle of Israeli participation dissuades these nations from partaking in this competition, although Morocco made an exception in 1980 when Israel withdrew for Passover. Samira Bensaid performed “Betakit Hob,” advocating for racial harmony with the poignant message that, “while our skins may be different colors, we are all red on the inside.” Despite its courageous effort, the song ranked second to last, and Morocco has not attempted participation again since.
Change of entry song ?
In february, Israel had to modify its Eurovision song, originally performed by representative Eden Golan, due to controversial lyrics. The song, which included lines such as “And I promise you that never again/I’m still wet from this October rain,” sparked controversy. Some, including Eurovision organizers, interpreted these lyrics as referencing the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, resulting in around 1,200 casualties and 250 people taken hostage. Israel’s military action in Gaza resulted in the deaths of over 31,000 individuals. Calls have emerged to ban Israel from the competition entirely due to the ongoing conflict.
Calls for Boycott

Amid the aggression on Gaza, Israel faces widespread calls for exclusion from the Eurovision competition. Thousands of singers, politicians, activists, and government broadcasting bodies across Europe refuse to engage with the occupying state, collectively demanding its expulsion and prohibition.
Thousands of artists from Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, along with Irish petitioners exceeding 16,000 signatures, advocate for Israel’s exclusion from Eurovision.
On March 7, two Belgian ministers echoed this sentiment, drawing parallels to Russia’s ban in 2022 after its invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the Palestinian-led movement Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions urges supporters to refrain from watching Eurovision and calls on broadcasters and participants to withdraw from the event.