Israel Minister Not Happy with Palestinian Flags at Eurovision


Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev on Sunday criticized the display of Palestinian flags during the Eurovision song contest finals in Tel Aviv, including by one of Madonna's dancers.

"It was an error," Regev, a right-wing minister known for provocative stances, told journalists before a cabinet meeting.

"Politics and a cultural event should not be mixed, with all due respect to Madonna."

Regev criticized Israeli public broadcaster KAN for not having prevented the flags from being shown, though it was unclear what could have been done.

During Madonna's performance at the Eurovision extravaganza, which began Saturday night and stretched into Sunday morning, two of her dancers could be seen side-by-side with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs.

The gesture was an apparent call for unity, but Eurovision organisers seek to keep all politics out of the event and the display of Palestinian flags inside Israel is deeply controversial.

Madonna had not commented on the flags.

Separately, Icelandic group Hatari displayed scarfs with Palestinian flags when results were being announced.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the event, condemned both displays.

Referring to Madonna's dancers, it said "this element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals".

"The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this."

Madonna resisted calls from pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the event over Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

In a statement before the finals, Madonna said: "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."

Regev also criticized KAN for not having filmed any of its "postcards" of participating singers in the occupied West Bank.

Each singer was filmed in scenic areas of Israel and some of the footage was aired during the show.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War and it remains under occupation today.

Israeli settlements there are viewed as illegal under international law and are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Israel won the right to host Eurovision thanks to last year's victory by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai.

The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence won this year's Eurovision with his power ballad "Arcade."

Comments 2
Thumb s.o.s 20 May 2019, 16:52

That’s quite an aggressive message you posted here mira96. We lack something the Israelis managed to partially achieve, its called tolerance. The Bible preaches tolerance, doesn’t it? They still have to find a solution for their Palestinians... but they’re definitely on the right path.

Thumb Mira96 21 May 2019, 03:36

Oh please. Tolerance? Since when is land theft and oppression tolerance? The right path according to people who don't fear God sure but not the right path according to God who demands righteousness and condemns adultery, homosexuality, drunkards, secukarism and more. Nonetheless, i don't care about what a person like you thinks. God has his way of dealing with heretic oppressors and sinners who have gone to extremes. What you call tolerance, God destroyed an entire town for. Don't pick and choose from the book and don't mention any religious book when you have made it clear that you believe religon is something to be kept private at home, completely contrary to what God says.