A Palestinian civil society released a statement in response to Hatari’s gesture, saying the most meaningful thing the group could have done is boycott the event completely.
Rabat – Iceland’s representatives at Eurovision, punk band Hatari, are making waves after they raised Palestinian flags during their appearance at the competition in Israel.
Hatari displayed the Palestinian flags as the results of the competition were being announced, leading to audible gasps in the crowd.
— Jon Brady (@jonbradyphoto) May 18, 2019
In a statement, Eurovision said the “consequences of this action” will be discussed by the contest’s executive board. “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 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,” the statement read.
Pop icon Madonna conveyed a similar message during her performance at the event, with Palestinian flag being featured on the back of her dancer’s attire, alongside the Israeli flag on the back of another dancer as the two walked off stage arm-in-arm.
Eurovision, an international singing competition which gathers representatives from most European countries, has been marred by controversy and protests this year due to their choice of Israel as a host country, with many public figures calling for a boycott of the event.
Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel (PACBI) released a statement in response to Hatari’s gesture, saying the most meaningful thing the group could have done is boycott the event completely and the gesture “cannot offset the harm they do to our human rights struggle by balancing their complicit act with some project with the Palestinians.”
Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists crossing our peaceful picket line #Hatari #BoycottEurovision2019 #ESC2019 #Eurovision2019 #esf19 #EurovisionSongContest #DareToDreamTogether #DareToDream #Eurovision pic.twitter.com/IP5MaTfQrQ
— PACBI (@PACBI) May 18, 2019
The statement called for a complete withdrawal of all contest from the competition as opposed to “fig-leafing” gestures.