A Sign of the Times

Eurovision is the annual European (and beyond) popular music contest that has become a giant cultural event. Each country is represented by a single singer or group, and the competition is intense. This year’s contest will begin on Tuesday in Malmo, Sweden.

Israel has won the competition four times, most recently in 2018. This year it is represented by a 20-year-old woman named Eden Golan. But the contest will not be a normal one for her. The London Times reports:

Israel’s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest has been told not to leave her hotel room other than for performances because of an expected wave of pro-Palestinian protests.

Eden Golan, 20, arrived in Malmo on Tuesday afternoon amid intense security precautions to begin rehearsing for her performance of the ballad Hurricane.

Swedish police have asked for reinforcements from Denmark and Norway and will be more heavily armed than usual for the world’s biggest pop competition, which, according to the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, is overshadowed by “Jew hatred, riots and terror”.

That is unusually blunt. And accurate. Security concerns are hardly overblown:

More than 20,000 people from across Europe are expected to converge on Sweden’s third-biggest city to join protests against Israel’s prosecution of its war against Hamas.

20,000. That’s worse than Columbia.

Police plan to use drone-mounted cameras to monitor the city, which has been plagued by gang violence, challenging Sweden’s peaceful image.

Israeli journalists covering the event have pointed out that Malmo had a reputation for antisemitism pre-dating the October 7 attacks.

That reputation is well-deserved. Malmo, needless to say, is home to many of Sweden’s Muslims.

Unfortunately, opposition is not only coming from local or imported demonstrators:

Golan does not only face opposition from audiences but also from fellow artists. More than 1,000 Swedish artists called for Israel to be banned from participating and more than 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals signed a petition to ban Israel from the contest.

A group of nine of Golan’s rival contestants, including the British entrant, Olly Alexander, released a statement in March expressing their concern over “the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel”.

None of these people care about the enslavement of the Uyghurs, the slaughter of Nigerian Christians, Gaza’s sickening massacres of October 7, or any of the other outrages and tragedies that beset the world. Only Israel’s desperate attempts at self-defense merit condemnation.

Miss Golan isn’t going to win the contest; let’s just hope she gets home in one piece. This is the song she is going to sing:

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