Why is Eurovision finalist Eden Golan facing massive protests in Sweden? SuperNayr

Every year, the Eurovision competition highlights unknown musical talents from Europe and guest countries. However, in 2024, the event is marked by massive protests against finalist Eden Golan.

Golan appearance in 2024’s Eurovision has been intensely criticized by pro-Palestine protesters, who argue that the competition should not have kept Israel’s invitation due to the ongoing war in Gaza. On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists invaded the borders of Israel, killing and kidnapping hundreds of civilians. Israel responded to the attack with a declaration of war against the terrorist organization.

Sadly, Hamas sets military targets in the middle of civilian zones in Palestine, which means enemy attacks also claim the lives of Palestinian citizens. In addition, Israel has refused any compromise in their campaign against Hamas, bombarding Palestinian territory non-stop for seven months already. Israel has also used the war to enforce mass migration for Gaza inhabitants and the interruption of essential resources such as clean water and electricity.

It’s a complex situation, for sure. On the one hand, it’s easy to understand why Israel felt the need to respond with force to Hamas’ cowardly attack. At the same time, it is impossible to overlook the fact that Israel’s military actions have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians while also forcing dozens of thousands to live in subhuman conditions.

The country’s decisions so far have made its participation in Eurovision controversial. Furthermore, since Russia was kicked out of the competition after the country invaded Ukraine, Eurovision already had the precedent in place for suspending Israel’s participation temporarily.

This would have already been enough to incite pro-Palestine protestors to march on the streets of Malmö, the Sweeden city hosting 2024’s competition. However, Gola’s song choice for her semifinal presentation just made things worse.

Eden Golan’s Eurovision song choice poured fuel into the protest fire

Eurovision has tried to remain apolitical to celebrate musical talent beyond national conflicts. Because of that, the jury banned Gola’s song choice for the competition’s semifinals, “October Rain.” The song alluded to Hamas’ 2023 attack, and Eurovision’s organizers felt it was best if Golan didn’t bring the issue onto the stage.

Golan has reworked her “October Rain” into “Hurricane,” the song she presented in the semifinals. While “Hurricane” doesn’t explore the Hamas-Israel war, the behind-the-scenes story of the banned music only enraged the protesters more, as the talented singer supposedly tried to use Eurovision as a platform to raise sympathy and support for Israel. Even if that was not her intention, the damage is already done. Currently, she has been provided tight security (via AP News) that accompanies her as she travels to and fro between the hotel and the contest venue 

In addition to street protests, 2024’s edition of Eurovision also faced some internal turmoil. Irish performer Bambi Thug refused to go on stage due to a situation “which I felt needed urgent attention from the EBU [European Broadcasting Union].” Plus, French singer Slimane interrupted his song to make a speech in which he claimed that the artists were “united by music, yes — but with love, for peace.”

The finals of 2024’s edition of Eurovision take place on May 11, 2024. Eden Golan will be competing against performers from 24 other countries.

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