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Swedish DJs Barred from Playing Israeli Songs at Eurovision Parties

Eden Golan, Israel’s Eurovision representative

Disc jockeys are claiming they were told not to play Israeli songs at events taking place inside the official Eurovision Village ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest that will be held in Malmo, Sweden, next month.

Tens of thousands of tourists and locals visit the Eurovision Village, where they can attend live concerts, parties, and broadcasts of the semi-finals and final competitions in the song contest. The Eurovision Village is the official venue of the Eurovision Song Contest, held this year in Malmo, and although the competition is organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the producer of the Eurovision events in Malmo is the local municipality.

Israeli DJs booked for events this year at the Eurovision Village confirmed to the Israeli publication Ynet that they were instructed not to play any Israeli songs in the venue.

“The instruction I received this morning was that in the village itself, Israeli songs must not be played, but in other parties, I can play what I want,” one of the DJs told Ynet, adding that a similar ban was put on Russian and Belarus songs. However, both of those countries are not participating in the competition.

“I think the reason for the decision is a security concern,” the DJ explained. “There are many Muslims and supporters of Palestinians in Malmo and many of them are expected to come to the Eurovision Village. I suppose the producers wanted to avoid a fuss or anything that would disrupt things in the village.”

The reported ban on Israeli songs does not apply to other Eurovision events taking place in Malmo, the DJs told Ynet.

The Malmo municipality denied claims of a ban on Israeli music and said in a released statement: “This is not true. We would never give such a directive. Eurovision in Malmo is for everyone and all music can be played.”

EBU also commented on the matter, saying that “while the Eurovision Village is an official venue of the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU is not involved in any programming of events or entertainment activities during the event.”

Israel’s representative in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest is Eden Golan and she will compete with a song renamed Hurricane. The EBU disqualified the song’s original lyrics and title, October Rain, because it was too political since the original track referenced the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

The finals for the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 11 in Malmo.

In last year’s Eurovision competition, Israel’s contestant Noa Kirel came in third place.