Finland confirms it won’t back out of Eurovision over Israel’s participation

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel

Finland’s public broadcaster, Yle, confirms that it will not pull out of competing at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest despite threatening to do so over Israel’s participation.

In a statement, Yle says that it “decided to respect the European Broadcasting Union EBU’s judgment on the TV companies participating in the contest. We understand that there are various justified perspectives related to this issue…. we hope that the situation in the Middle East will resolve as soon as possible.”

Last month, 1,400 Finnish musicians and industry professionals signed a petition calling for Israel to be banned from the contest over the ongoing war in Gaza and suggesting Yle should boycott the show if it is not.

The Finnish entry this year, a duo known as Windows95man, said earlier this month that “we hope that Israel will not participate. This is a bad situation. There is still time until spring. We hope that the EBU will make the right decisions,” and suggested that they would decide whether to still go. But today the duo says in a statement that “we do not feel that withdrawing ourselves would make an impact,” although they intend to still try to apply pressure on the EBU.

Similar demands have echoed from groups in Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Ireland, although the EBU has repeatedly maintained that Israel will be allowed to participate. So far no countries have backed out of the contest over Israel’s inclusion.

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