Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest amidst Israel's Gaza war

Switzerland won the 68th Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday in the Swedish city of Malmo amid controversy about Israel’s participation and the expulsion of the Dutch entry.

Nemo won with The Code pulling together an impressive performance mixing rap, rock, drum 'n bass and classical opera, as well as balancing on a revolving spinning disc.

"I hope this contest can live up to its promise, and continue to stand up for peace," Nemo said while accepting the trophy.

Croatian act Baby Lasagne who received the highest public vote, took second place with the rock track, Rim Tim Tagi Dim.

Ukrainian’s Alyona Alyona & Jerry Hall came in third place with their song, Teresa and Maria.

This year's contest has been entangled in controversy with protests and demands for Israel to be banned because of its brutal onslaught on Gaza.

Marches against Israel's war

Loud booing was heard when Israel's entry, Eden Golan, performed in the final, and when Israel was handed its scores.

Dutch public broadcaster AvroTros decided to not present the jury voting in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest after Joost Klein was kicked out Saturday because of a controversial “incident.”

Klein was initially put under investigation Friday by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) after he was heard asking Golan to justify her participation in the contest at a news conference amid Tel Aviv’s onslaught against Gaza.

The EBU claimed, however, that the decision to disqualify Klein is related to him allegedly making verbal threats late Thursday to a female production worker at the venue in Malmo.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched Saturday in Malmo in a protest of Israel’s participation in the competition.

Crisis meeting

Protesters waving Palestinian flags set off smoke flares in the Palestinian flag colours and chanted: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Israel is a terror state,” and they demanded a ceasefire in Gaza.

An alternative Palestinian song contest, FalastinVision, was held Saturday in Malmo to protest Israel's participation.

In March, the EBU, which organizes the competition, confirmed the participation of Golan, despite worldwide demands for her to be removed amid the Israeli onslaught against Gaza.

The EBU held a crisis meeting Saturday after several contestants from various countries decided not to show up for the flag parade during a stage rehearsal.

'Artwash' Eurovision

Norwegian singer Alessandra Mele, who was scheduled to award Norway's points during the final, decided to withdraw.

Mele cited an inflamed situation that has overshadowed the music show in Malmo.

In an Instagram post posted today, she said: “’United by music’ is Eurovision's motto, and the reason why I do music - to unite people. But right now, they are empty words. A genocide is taking place. Free Palestine,” she said.

Ahead of the second semi-final held Thursday, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, took to the streets of Malmo to demand Israel be excluded.

The activist accused Israel of trying to "artwash" Eurovision, by using artistic performance to distract from its actions in Gaza.

“We will not accept that a country currently committing genocide is allowed a platform to artwash themselves,” she wrote on X.

"The world cannot remain silent in a genocide. Everyone who can, must use their voice and speak up against Israel’s crimes and occupation,” she added.

Thunberg was detained Saturday by police after she was forcefully removed from a pro-Palestine protest held outside the Eurovision arena during the grand finale, according to Swedish national broadcaster SVT Nyheter.

Authorities have adopted extra security measures including police with submachine guns and reinforcements from Denmark and Norway.

Eurovision organisers on Wednesday rebuked one of the opening acts for wearing a Palestinian scarf during the first semi-final night.

Swedish singer Eric Saade was one of three former contestants opening the contest in Malmo, when he was seen wearing a keffiyeh around his wrist — a symbol in support of Palestine to protest the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

EBU last week decided to prevent contestants, performers and fans from displaying Palestinian flags and pro-Palestinian symbols during the contest.


Source: TRT