Nearly 300 Norwegian singers and musicians have signed a petition to ban Israel from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. They’re also calling on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) to pressure the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) into imposing the ban, after Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed more than 20,000 civilians over the past three months.
“I wish we didn’t have to do this, and that NRK would take more responsibility,” Marthe Valle, one of those behind the petition, told the state broadcaster’s news division on Friday. Other performing artists signing the petition include Aurora and Mari Boine, and 290 more (external link to NRK’s article and full list of petitioners).
NRK and the EBU maintain that Eurovision should be non-political, but the petition notes how Russia was banned from the song contest after it invaded Ukraine in 2022. That makes the EBU guilty of “selective morals and policies,” argues Valle. “We can’t pretend this (Eurovision) is an arena for dialogue and solidarity, when Israel is killing several hundred children a day,” she told NRK. Other Nordic countries including Finland and Iceland are also challenging Israel’s participation in Eurovision this year, which will be hosted by Sweden after it won last year’s contest.
Norway’s own qualifiers for Eurovision, called Melodi Grand Prix, are well underway, with the final competition set to be broadcast from Trondheim next weekend. A pro-Palestinian demonstrator made her way onstage at the second qualifier to urge a boycott of Israel and protest Israel’s war, after which NRK boosted security around the event.