Eurovision: Iceland Palestine protest rejected by PACBI as fig-leafing

Eurovision: Iceland Palestine protest rejected by PACBI as fig-leafing

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Iceland’s protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestine at Eurovision has been rejected as ‘fig-leafing’ by Palestine’s boycott movement.
During last night’s Eurovision Song Contest grand final, which was won by The Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence, Iceland entry Hatari showed support for the Palestinian people by holding up flags and banners for the nation after the cameras cut to them in the green room.
The move was booed in Expo Tel Aviv, although was praised by many on social media.
However, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has rejected the protest, accusing Hatari of crossing the picket line.
A statement from the group read: ‘Palestinians are calling on all Eurovision contestants to withdraw from the contest in apartheid Tel Aviv. This includes Iceland’s entrant Hatari, in particular, who are on the record supporting Palestinian rights.
‘Artists who insist on crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line, playing 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 group showed support for Palestinian rights (Picture: EPA)‘Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects this fig-leafing, having learnt from the fight against apartheid in South Africa.’
They continued: ‘While we appreciate gestures of solidarity, we cannot accept them when they come with an act that clearly undermines our nonviolent human rights movement. The most meaningful expression of solidarity is to cancel performances in apartheid Israel.
‘We appeal to all Palestinian artists to refrain from organising any activities with artists who violate the guidelines of the cultural boycott of Israel.’
This statement was retweeted by the Palestinian branch of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Following Hatari’s flag-bearing on air, drummer Einar Hrafn Stefánsson shared a clip to his Instagram, showing two staff members demanding the flags from the group. 
One man wearing a Eurovision press pass is heard saying: ‘Give me the flag of Palestine’, while a woman pointed out they had another one hidden.
More: Eurovision Song Contest 2019

And following the show, the Hatrio mun sigra singers, who came 10th in the final, added a Palestinian flag to their Instagram account.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) released a statement following the stunt, hinting at harsh punishment for Iceland in Eurovision.
It read: ‘In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Hatari, the Icelandic act, briefly displayed small Palestinian banners whilst sat in the Green Room. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest’s rules.  
‘The banners were quickly removed and the consequences of this action will be discussed by the Reference Group (the contest’s executive board) after the contest.’

Eurovision 2019 leaderboard

Netherlands: 492
Italy: 465
Russia: 369
Switzerland: 360
Norway: 338
Sweden: 332
Azerbaijan: 297
North Macedonia: 295
Australia: 285
Iceland: 234
Czech Republic: 157
Denmark: 120
Slovenia: 105
France: 105
Malta: 95
Serbia: 92
Albania: 90
Estonia: 86
San Marino: 81
Greece: 71
Spain: 60
Israel: 47
Germany: 32
Belarus: 31
United Kingdom: 16

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