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Division In Eurovision

Updated: Apr 17

By Mahika Khosla April 3, 2024

Eurovision, an annual song and performance competition and a revered celebration of music and cultural diversity, will be hosted in Malmö, Sweden. Taking place from May 7 to May 11, this year’s contest promises a grand showcase of talent from 37 European and non-European countries. However, this lineup is under fire from politicians and artists from all over the globe, who are protesting Israel’s participation song entries due to their war in Gaza. 

Each participating country has until mid-March to select a song and artist, either through direct nomination or televised national auditions. However, as countries started to submit their entries, Finnish and Icelandic artists called to ban Israel from the competition, citing the civilian impacts of Israeli military actions in Gaza. Some countries threatened to boycott the competition if Israel was not suspended.

Dana Lim Art

Many also criticized Israel’s original song entry “October Rain” on social media, believing that the song alluded to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas and was thus “too political” for Eurovision—which has long stressed that it is an apolitical event.

Subsequently, The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) rejected this song and Israel’s backup song “Dancing Forever,” although they did not ban the country from participation. In response, Israel and its representative singer Eden Golan agreed to change the title of “October Rain” to “Hurricane” and rewrote the song as a romantic ballad. Still, several countries continued to call for Israel’s suspension from the competition. London will not host its annual Eurovision screen partly due to Israel’s participation.

“Politics should not be involved in music. Everyone should be able to enjoy music without having to worry about political events or unintentionally supporting or opposing specific movements,” Sophomore Arianna Rashid said.  

Despite Eurovision’s claims to be strictly apolitical, the contest has not been immune to political tensions throughout its history. Notable instances include conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2015 and 2016, as well as ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which have occasionally broken the competition’s spirit of unity.

Dana Lim Art

Music has long been a powerful medium for expressing political sentiments and sparking social change, providing a platform for diverse voices. Examples range from Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” which protested the Vietnam War, to ”Worker’s Blood,” a song created by Cambodian youth to highlight unjust worker treatment.

Some believe “October Rain” was similarly written to give a voice to Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks—Yoav Tzafir, the director of Israel’s delegation to Eurovision, stated that both “October Rain” and “Hurricane” were meant to be songs that “Israelis can relate to.” Yet, others accuse the song choice of downplaying the experiences of Palestinian civilians in the decades-long conflict between Israel and  Palestine. 

“All art forms hold the power to send social and political messages, and music is no exception, as it can be used to raise awareness about issues and inspire change. For example, rapper Kendrick Lamar has always used his music to advocate for the Black Lives Movement and criticize police brutality,” Junior Suhan Lai said.

Israel’s participation in Eurovision continues to face opposition as it wages a war in Gaza. Nonetheless, in the context of Eurovision, political songs reflect the complexities that exist within the participating countries and the socio-political climate of their time, highlighting the contest’s significance beyond music.


About the Contributors

Mahika Khosla

staff writer

Mahika Khosla is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys reading novels, watching movies with popcorn, and creating board games.

Dana Lim


Dana Lim is a junior at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she loves watching movies, listening to music, and taking 5hr naps

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