Search icon


19th May 2019

Iceland to face punishment over Israeli Eurovision protest

Wayne Farry

israel eurovision

Iceland’s act held Palestinian flags aloft during the contest

Iceland are set to face a punishment for their protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories during the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

The country’s act for the night, Hatari, was spotted holding Palestinian flags aloft while their points were being tallied for the contest, with their act being booed by some of the crowd as a result.

Prior to Saturday’s final the group, who were clad in leather during their performance, jokingly challenged Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a “friendly match of traditional Icelandic trouser grip wrestling”.

After the protest, Eurovision released a statement confirming that the consequences would be discussed.

“In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Hatari, the Icelandic act, briefly displayed small Palestinian banners whilst sat in the Green Room,” read the statement.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the Contest rules. 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.”

The 2019 contest was held in Israel due to the fact that the country won the previous year’s contest. The choice of host led to pro-Palestine groups calling for the competition to be boycotted in the run up to the show.

Iceland’s protest came after Madonna made a direct reference to the Israel/Palestine conflict during her performance at the show. Her routine during the contest’s break saw two dancers wearing Israeli and Palestinian flags with the pair holding hands during her set.