Musicians in Iceland call for Israel to be excluded from 2024 Eurovision Song Contest

Noa Kirel of Israel performs during the first semi final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool (AP)
Noa Kirel of Israel performs during the first semi final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool (AP)

Icelandic musicians have called on artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest unless Israel is disqualified.

The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT), which represents artists in the country, told its members in a statement to not participate in the show unless Israel is removed from the competition.

The FTT said: "We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children.

"We always have the choice not to put our name to such things, whether we are individuals or state institutions.

"We owe it to the nations that act with military force to not share with them in an event that is always characterised by joy and optimism."

According to Gaza’s health ministry, 18,800 Palestinians, 70 percent of them women and children, have been killed since Israel’s bombardment.

Israel has continued its air strikes in Gaza since Hamas's October 7 attacks which killed 1,200 people in southern Israel, according to Israeli officials.

The FTT called for the removal of Israel from Eurovison “on the same grounds as Russia in the last competition".

Russia was excluded from the competition in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement at the time, the European Broadcast Union (EBU) said “the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute".

The EBU told Irish online newspaper The Journal: “It is a competition for broadcasters - not governments - and the Israeli public broadcaster has participated in the Contest for 50 years.

"EBU is aligned with other international organisations that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time."

This year, Israel's act Noa Kirel finished in third place with her performance, Unicorn.

Pro-Palestine supporters have been calling for viewers to boycott Eurovision on social media after it was announced on Saturday that Olly Alexander, lead singer of the band Years and Years, will represent the UK at the next year’s contest.

This is not the first time Iceland has shown support for Palestine at Eurovision.

In 2019, Iceland was fined by the EBU after its act Hatari held the Palestinian flag on the show which was held in Israel.