Opinion

Israeli state broadcaster uses Eurovision promo videos to market occupied territories as ‘Israel’

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Israel is using its hosting of the Eurovision song contest not merely for general culture-washing of various kinds, but for explicit political propaganda branding Palestinian and Syrian occupied territories as “Israel”.

The Israeli public broadcaster Kan has released the list of countries participating in Eurovision and the respective locations in which their introduction “postcard” videos were filmed. These videos will be shown before each team’s performance.   

These locations include:

Albania – Nature Reserve Banias

Romania – Mount Hermon

Serbia – Ein Zivan

These locations are in the occupied Syrian Jolan (Golan). No country in the world recognizes these territories as “Israel” except USA, where President Trump last march decided to recognize it as “Israel”, in a move widely seen as strategic in aiding Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent election victory.

On it goes:

Belarus – Rockefeller Archaeological Museum (Jerusalem)

Russia – Tower of David (Jerusalem)

These locations are in occupied East Jerusalem. Once again, international law does not recognize this as “Israel”, but USA broke with it last year, where Trump made his “recognition” gesture a year ago in moving US Embassy to Jerusalem, with Guatemala following suit.

Israel unilaterally annexed Jerusalem and the Syrian Jolan in flagrant violation of international law and has cemented them in official law.

It is important to note, that Kan has already been under scrutiny for possible political provocation in terms of featuring occupied territory as Israel, under the notion of keeping the Eurovision supposedly apolitical. Thus, Kan took an official decision to avoid filming in “Judea and Samaria” – the Israeli term for the occupied Palestinian West Bank.  

Minister of Culture Miri Regev was actually very upset about that decision, and said that Kan made “a big mistake”. Kan responded to Regev’s fury, saying:

“We are glad that the postcards are of great interest and that people are confident that they will show the world a wide variety of interesting places in Israel”

And emphasized:

The Eurovision Song Contest is by no means a political event. 

Alas, by international law, East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank. Kan is thus anyway filming in “Judea and Samaria”, although it’s pretending not to. The claim of East Jerusalem being part of the “united capital” by Israeli Basic Law (1981, and also recent Nation State law), is only an Israeli claim, and it is “null and void” by international law represented in UN Security Council resolutions.

Likewise, the Israeli annexation of the Syrian Jolan is illegal, and Kan is filming in occupied territory which it markets as “Israel”.

The game between Kan and Regev is thus a mere good-cop-bad-cop, where she wants more occupied territory to be filmed, and Kan cunningly plays the “apolitical”, nonetheless providing political propaganda, only with a bit less territorial claim than Regev had wished. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the Israeli Eurovision is a highly political event, and it is now being explicitly used for advancing state-criminality, with the complicity of the countries participating. They are now all accountable.

H/t Annar Follesø

Update: I reached out to the the European Broadcasting Union and the Eurovision Song Contest for comment on this. A mail received states:

Hello,

The Eurovision Song Contest is a long running non-political, entertainment event which is designed to bring audiences and countries together. To this end, the EBU and the host broadcaster take all necessary steps to safeguard the non-political character of the event throughout the organization of the competition.

Many Thanks,

ESC Press Team

 

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Meanwhile:

https://www.magzter.com/CA/Kamra_On_Productions_Inc./SHE_Canada_Magazine/Fashion/309749

“She Canada” magazine features Ahed Tamimi on its cover.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/15/israeli-tv-eurovision-webcast-hacked-with-fake-missile-alert “the Eurovision has twice been staged not just in Israel but in the contested city of Jerusalem, in 1979 and 1999, without a major European campaign for a boycott. This makes it all the more striking that the EBU overruled the intentions of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to make Jerusalem again the host city this year. It did so because of a growing wariness of Netanyahu’s intentions and an implicit acceptance that… Read more »

Thanks, Jonathan. Ali Abunimah has a related article up: “Eurovision defends “Greater Israel” logo The organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest are defending their use of an official logo which appears to represent all of historic Palestine – including the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip – as part of Israel. In a letter to the Palestinian Authority foreign ministry on Wednesday, the European Broadcasting Union states that there was nothing intentional about the logo… Read more »