The pro-Palestinian band Hatari earned Iceland a fine for its political gesture during Eurovision 2019.
By United With Israel Staff
On Saturday, organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest announced they had fined Iceland’s public broadcaster after its representative band displayed scarves decorated with the Palestinian flag and the word “Palestine” during the competition’s final, held in Israel this past May.
Eurovision is a non-political, international contest. Political statements and gestures are forbidden as per the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) rule 2.6.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest rules,” the EBU said in a statement immediately following the contest.
Icelandic punk band Hatari, known for its pro-Palestinian stance, brandished the scarves while the final results of the competition were announced, breaking contest rules.
The amount of the fine has not been disclosed. However, it is reported to be “in line with the rules of the competition.”
Madonna, who reportedly earned $1.5 million to perform at the final, also provoked controversy at the contest. Two of her dancers appeared at the end of her performance with the Israeli and Palestinian flags displayed on their costumes. These “additions” were not presented during her dress rehearsal for the show.
The EBU also reprimanded Madonna.
Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev said on the matter, “It was a mistake. You cannot mix politics at a cultural event, with all due respect to Madonna.”
The country from which the Eurovision winner hails hosts the next year’s event. Israel’s Netta Barzilai won Eurovision 2018 in Portugal, bringing the event to Tel Aviv in 2019.
Eurovision 2020 will be held in the Netherlands, with the success of its competitor Duncan Laurence.