Following a petition which has garnered over 22,000 signatures, the Icelandic broadcaster is meeting to discuss the possibility of withdrawing from the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Israel.
The Reykjavik Grapevine reports that the broadcaster had a meeting on Tuesday of this week and will have a further meeting in June to discuss the issue.
RÚV’s discussions are in response to a petition launched by Icelander Árni St. Sigurðsson which was started after the recent events in Gaza. The petition has been signed by Daði Freyr who came second in the Icelandic national final for Eurovision in 2017 behind Svala.
The petition states:
“Following the human rights violation perpetuated by Israel towards the Palestinian nation it is unethical for us to participate in such a glamorous competition like Eurovision in the shadow of Israel’s violence against their neighbours.”
According to The Reykjavik Grapevine, RÚV programming director Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson told reporters: “This has been discussed within the programming department and we will of course examine this issue.”
This year, Iceland was represented at Eurovision in Lisbon by Ari Ólafsson with Our Choice. Iceland finished last in the first semi-final scoring just 15 points, this included 0 points from the public vote.
Iceland is not the only country to have faced calls for withdrawal from Eurovision 2019. In Ireland, former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan has suggested that RTÉ should boycott the contest.
Source: The Reykjavik Grapevine
Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Iceland debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1986 and, aside from 2 years of relegation in 1998 and 2002, has participated every year since. The contest is incredibly popular in Iceland, regularly being one of the most watched programmes of the year. Iceland has yet to win the contest but has finished in 2nd on two occasions. In 1999, Selma missed out on victory in Jerusalem by 17 points, and in 2009 Yohanna became the most successful Icelandic entrant ever finishing 2nd in the final with the song “Is it True?”. She scored 218 points, yet still finished 169 points behind the runaway winner Norway.