Boycotters reject Iceland Eurovision stunt

Contestants Hatari of Iceland perform at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Contestants Hatari of Iceland perform at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

A Palestinian boycott campaign against Israel has rejected a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people by Icelandic performers at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

Iceland's Hatari, who have spoken of their conflicting feelings around being at the contest in Israel, held up banners bearing the Palestinian flag when cameras focused on them as their results were announced on Saturday night.

In response, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel wrote on Twitter: "Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists crossing our peaceful picket line #Hatari."

The boycott movement had called on artists to cancel their performances in Israel.

Political statements are banned at Eurovision and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a statement on the Icelandic act.

"The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the Contest rules," it said.

"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."

Hatari wasn't the only act to make a political statement.

US pop icon Madonna, who performed towards the end of the show, included Palestinian and Israeli flags on the backs of two of her dancers as they held hands, in an apparent call for peace.

The EBU said: "This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared with the EBU and the Host Broadcaster, KAN.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this."

Australian Associated Press