Eurovision 2024: Ireland's Bambie Thug 'cried' over Israel's participation

Israel's presence in the song contest has triggered protests and debate

Eden Golan of Israel arrives on stage during dress rehearsal for the Eurovision final in Malmo, Sweden. AP
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Israel’s participation in the Eurovision song contest “overshadows” the event and everything it represents, Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug has said.

Bambie Thug cried after Israel qualified for the grand finale on Saturday, the singer said.

The performer wore a keffiyeh and carried Irish flags when speaking to journalists before the event at Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Israel's presence in the Eurovision song contest has triggered fierce debate and protests.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through the city on Thursday, even before Israeli singer Eden Golan had successfully made it through to the final.

“It is a complete overshadow of everything, goes against everything that Eurovision is meant to be,” Bambie Thug said.

“It's a big, big community together and their contestant was never allowed to even meet us. God forbid we have some conversation where minds might be changed.

“It's definitely putting a cloud above it for everyone.”

The singer added: “I cried with my team.”

Bambie Thug will perform Doomsday Blue at the grand finale on Saturday, when more protests are expected.

Twenty-six nations will compete in the final, a beloved annual event watched by millions.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the “whole country will be rooting” for Bambie Thug when the contest takes place.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, and Golan's representatives have been approached for comment.

Israel’s initial Eurovision entry for 2024, October Rain, was widely taken as a reference to Hamas’s October 7 attacks and deemed too political by EBU officials.

After Israeli President Isaac Herzog stepped in to say the country should compete, broadcaster Kan agreed to change the lyrics. The entry by singer Eden Golan is now called Hurricane.

German Culture Minister Claudia Roth and other governments denounced calls to boycott Israeli artists over their country's actions in Gaza.

“Especially in these times, we need more cultural co-operation between Europe and Israel,” she posted on X, formerly Twitter, calling boycott demands “absolutely unacceptable”.

France's European Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Liberation newspaper that “politics has no place in Eurovision”.

But in Spain, the far-left Sumar party, part of the coalition government, launched a petition calling for Israel to be excluded from the competition.

Updated: May 10, 2024, 11:01 PM