Israeli singer Eden Golan elegantly responds when asked whether her very existence at Eurovision poses a threat

Undeterred by boycotts and anti-Semitic abuse, Israeli singer Eden Golan made it to the final round of the Eurovision Song Contest Thursday only to discover that the thousands of pro-Hamas radicals outside were not the only people in Malmö, Sweden, who regarded her presence as intolerable.


Eurovision is an international music competition organized annually by the European Broadcasting Union and has been around since 1956. Despite its name, entrants hail from beyond the European Union’s porous borders. Australia, the United Kingdom, Georgia, and Israel are among the other nations further afield that also regularly participate.

Although the contest has long prohibited “messages promoting any organization, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services,” politics and world conflicts nevertheless bleed into the competition.

For instance, in 2016 there was
outrage over an Armenian performer’s display of the flag of the Republic of Artsakh — an autonomous region within Azerbaijan’s borders that was largely populated by ethnically Armenian Christians up until its brutal capture by Islamic Azerbaijani forces late last year.

In 2022, the inclusion of a Russian entry was prohibited “in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”

Whereas other political controversies are sporadic, Israel’s involvement since 1973 appears to be a constant sore spot for various radicals. Various Arab states have refused to take part on account of the Jewish state’s presence and various leftist groups have called for boycotts. This year is no different.

The gathering storm

Eden Golan, 20, entered as Israel’s representative in the contest earlier this year. She wanted to sing a song entitled, “October Rain.” Presuming her song to be a vague commentary on the horrific Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, contest officials barred her from singing it, citing their rules on political neutrality,
reported the BBC.

The English version of the lyrics included the lines, “There’s no air left to breathe,” and, “They were all good children, each one of them.”

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan initially vowed not to change the lyrics. However, Israeli President Isaac Herzog signaled the acceptability of “necessary adjustments” to ensure Golan could represent the country, and the broadcaster complied.

Kan reportedly said, “The president emphasized that at this time in particular, when those who hate us seek to push aside and boycott the state of Israel from every stage, Israel must sound its voice with pride and its head high and raise its flag in every world forum, especially this year.”

Provided with the updated song, entitled “Hurricane,” the European Broadcasting Union confirmed that the “official submission from its Israeli member Kan has been deemed eligible to compete in the Eurovision song contest in May,”
reported the Guardian.

The prospect of a Jewish singer taking the stage sent various radicals into apoplexy.

Belgium’s culture minister, Bénédicte Linard,
tweeted, “Like Russia, excluded from competitions and Eurovision following the invasion of Ukraine, Israel must be excluded until it puts an end to its flagrant violations of international law, which are causing thousands of victims, starting with the children.”

Various music industry groups in countries such as
Iceland and Finland called for boycotts against Eurovision, demanding a ban on Israeli performers.

On the flip side, some pro-Israel celebrities signaled their support for the country’s involvement. Deadline
indicated that Oscar-winner Helen Mirren was among those to sign a public letter demanding that Golan should be able to compete.

“You are successfully competing against an ugly wave of antisemitism, and are standing up to it,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Artists representing nine European countries in the contest
issued a statement in March indicating they would not boycott the contest. However, they attempted to placate protesters by calling for a ceasefire and condemning so-called Islamophobia.

Some performers — such as Ireland’s entry, Bambie Thug — have since flouted the contest’s rules, showing off their pro-Palestinian colors. The Greek entry, Marina Satti, opted to show her contempt instead by
pretending to snore at a press conference when Golan was responding to questions.

The opposition has not only been behind the curtain.

During a rehearsal Tuesday, Sky News
indicated audience members booed Golan and chanted “Free Palestine.” One audience member waving a Palestinian flag was escorted out of the auditorium.

“It is outrageous that Israel is allowed to participate,” said climate alarmist Greta Thunberg.

Golan was unfazed by the bitterness in the stands and successfully secured a spot in Saturday’s final along with nine others in the second semi-final Thursday — all to the chagrin of the thousands of radicals who had gathered outside in the streets of Malmö to protest her presence.

Among those desperate to see Israel eliminated from the competition was climate alarmist Greta Thunberg, who — wearing a keffiyeh — said, “It is outrageous that Israel is allowed to participate.”

Some pro-Hamas protesters
seized control of a nearby train stop in an apparent effort to block fans from attending the concert.

The Guardian
indicated that additional protests and an alternative concert dubbed “a song contest without genocide” are planned for Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cheered Golan on, stating, “You are competing, proudly and impressively, not only in the Eurovision but you are successfully competing against an ugly wave of antisemitism, and are standing up to it, honorably representing Israel.”

A threat to radicals

Golan attended a press conference Thursday evening after securing her spot in the final. A reporter from the Polish radio outlet Newsletter put a “personal question” to Golan: “Have you ever thought that by being here, you bring risk and danger for other participants and the public?”

Golan, who has to travel through Sweden surrounded by
a small army of security guards due to the danger posed by pro-Hamas protesters, appeared stunned by the apparent intimation that her Jewish nationality makes her a danger.

Swedish moderator Jovan Radomir told Golan, who remained smiling and composed, that she did not have to answer.

Sky News
reported that Joost Klein, a competitor from the Netherlands, yelled, “Why not?”

Golan responded, “I think we’re all here for one reason and one reason only, and 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 or we wouldn’t be here.”

Golan’s response received a round of applause. Klein, on the other hand, missed his slot in the dress rehearsal Friday and is apparently under investigation.

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