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Eurovision handed Israel the win

The European public voted against the anti-Israel narrative of the elites and the antisemitic demonstrations marching through its cities.

Eden Golan, Israel's participant in the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden who came in fifth place overall, arrives at Ben-Gurion International Airport on May 12, 2024. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Eden Golan, Israel's participant in the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden who came in fifth place overall, arrives at Ben-Gurion International Airport on May 12, 2024. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
David Isaac
David Isaac

Israel finished fifth overall in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. That surprise finish was widely celebrated by Israelis as a great success. In fact, it was a success greater than they realized.

The European public’s vote for a singer was a protest vote against the anti-Israel narrative of the elites and the antisemitic demonstrations marching through Europe’s cities by those celebrating Hamas.

“In a competition invaded by politics, the European public decided to respond and reject the clear bias and anti-Israel trend by supporting massively the Israeli candidate Eden Golan,” Daniel Shadmy, spokesperson of ELNET-Israel, a group dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel relations, told JNS.

“After the judges of the competition snubbed the Israeli candidate, the European public voted with a loud and clear voice and put Israel as their second favorite song of the whole competition. Israel got top scores from 14 countries, this year’s record,” Shadmy said.

Israel actually won a 15th “country.” A new category, “Rest of the World,” includes voters from countries that aren’t participating in the contest.

Among countries whose public voted Israel into the top spot were the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy.

The Irish public, considered among the most hostile to Israel (although perhaps that assumption should be revisited), put Israel in a respectable second place, giving it 10 votes.

“It is noteworthy that countries that were very critical of Israel, both politically and during the competition itself, such as Belgium and Spain, were among those whose public gave the most points to Israel in a clear message of protest,” Shadmy said.

Eurovision voting is a tally of two sets of votes: public and jury. Each counts for 50% of the total tally.

The public televotes. The only caveat: Individuals can’t vote for their own country.

Each of the participating 37 countries has a jury. Each jury is made up of five music industry professionals.

Voting follows a 12-point format. Twelve points are given to the first choice, 10 points to the second, eight to the third, seven to the fourth and then in one-point increments (6,5,4,3,2 … ) to zero.

The public voted Israel into second place overall. The juries voted Israel into 12th place out of the 25 contestants.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that while the public and jury have rarely agreed on the winners in past competitions, the gap in Israel’s case was unusual. That the answer is politics is obvious, notwithstanding Eurovision organizers’ protestations that the contest is apolitical.

 A potential lynch mob’

Prima facie evidence is this year’s voting gap. Take the United Kingdom, where Israel earned 12 points from the public, but zero from its jury. The same holds true for Holland, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland—12 from the public for Israel, zero from the jurists.

Ireland, whose public gave it the aforementioned 10 votes, offered zero from its jury. France and Germany’s juries each gave Israel a somewhat better three points; still a far cry from the 12 points of their public.

In Norway’s case, the jury awarded Israel more points (eight) than the public (five). One of its jury members, Daniel Owen, apologized on Instagram for Israel’s high score, explaining that the jurists vote separately and don’t confer beforehand.

Acknowledging that he had broken the rules, which forbids letting politics influence voting, Owen said his personal views prevented him from voting for Israel.

His admission is but one example of the unfair treatment Israel’s singer endured. Eden Golan was snubbed by contestants and booed during her performance.

JNS columnist Melanie Phillips noted that viewers saw “a vast mob on the streets of Malmö … besieging a young Israeli singer to force her out of the contest. … They saw that more than 100 police officers, a motorcade and a helicopter were needed to escort her to the competition venue. They saw this wasn’t a protest but a potential lynch mob.”

Sympathy for her plight likely also motivated Europe’s public—a sympathy born out of its familiarity with Islamist behavior.

Eurovision gave Europeans a chance to vent. “It felt like a tiny rebellion against the hysteria of the elites,” wrote Brendan O’Neill, chief political writer for British magazine Spiked.

As The Wall Street Journal noted, “Eurovision voting resembles E.U. voting. The voters send national representatives to the E.U. Parliament in Brussels, but the unelected European Commission overrules them.”

It should be noted that a boycott of Eurovision had been advocated by those opposed to Israel’s presence. It’s possible that opened the door for a European public, untainted by Muslim influence, to express itself.

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