Eurovision: Iceland’s Entry Hatari Anger Event Organisers After Displaying Palestinian Flags During Live Final

Matt Bagwell

Iceland’s Eurovision entry could face “consequences” after they held up Palestinian flags during Saturday night’s live final.

Leather-clad bondage punk trio, Hatari, had been critical of Israel before Saturday’s grand finale, going as far as to challenge the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to a “friendly match of traditional Icelandic trouser grip wrestling”.

Hatari

During the live final, the band members could be seen holding up Palestinian flags while their public vote was being announced.

The act was met with booing from the audience and prompted Eurovision organisers to release a statement.

It said: “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.

“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.”

Hatari continued with their protest against Israel, despite members of the Israeli broadcaster trying to confiscate their banners.

A video shared on Hatari drummer Einar Hrafn Stefánsson’s Instagram shows staff trying to confiscate the flags from the group.

In the clip, two staff members can be seen demanding the flags from the group. One man wearing a Eurovision press pass is heard saying: “Give me the flag of Palestine”, while a woman pointed out they had another one hidden.

Hatari’s gesture was rejected by Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel (PACBI), which had demanded all acts pull out of the event.

In a statement, PACBI said: “Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists crossing our peaceful picket line.”

Eurovision is supposed to be “non-political” however the build-up has been marred by controversy and calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian activists.

Madonna also used her performance to make a huge statement, ending it by showing two dancers wearing Israel and Palestine flags walking with their arms around each other into the distance.

The words “Wake Up” then appeared on the screen behind her.

Organisers said it had not been part of the approved act.

Madonna previously brushed off the controversy surrounding her performance, telling Reuters: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.

“My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict.

“I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace,” she added.

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