Eurovision organizers reprimand a Swedish singer for wearing a Palestinian hijab on stage

Eurovision organizers reprimanded a musician who wore a keffiyeh tied to his arm during the opening performances of the contest on Tuesday night.

Swedish pop singer Eric Saadeh wore the Middle Eastern scarf around his wrist during a guest performance at the first semi-final of the competition in Malmö, Sweden, on Tuesday evening (May 7). The scarf has been consistently used as a symbol of pro-Palestine support throughout Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

Saadeh’s decision to wear the hijab has now been condemned by Eurovision organizers, who announced ahead of the contest that they reserved the right to remove any Palestinian flags and pro-Palestine symbols at the show, as protests against Israel’s participation in the contest mount amid its war in Gaza.

She also said that people are not allowed to wave banners with war-related slogans, and ticket holders are only allowed to bring and display flags representing the 37 participating countries in the arena.

However, people have found different ways to show their pro-Palestinian support, such as wearing clothing and accessories bearing the watermelon symbol (the colors of the Palestinian flag), as well as wearing the keffiyeh.

A spokesman for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is organizing the event, said the company regretted Saada wearing a keffiyeh on stage on Tuesday.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a live television programme. All performers are made aware of the rules of the competition, and we regret that Eric Saadeh chose to compromise on the non-political nature of the event.

See also  Daisy Ridley Reshoots Rey in Charmaine Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars Picture - Deadline

Saadeh, who placed third in Sweden in 2011 and spent two years performing with boy band What’s Up!, has previously stated that he opposes Israel’s participation in the competition and criticized the EBU’s handling of this year’s controversy.

Eric Saadeh on stage at the Eurovision semi-final (TT/AFP via Getty Emma)

Controversy continued to mount over Israel’s participation in the competition. The country has chosen 20-year-old Eden Golan to perform the song “Hurricane” in the final on Saturday (May 11).

Her original song “October Rain” sparked controversy as the lyrics were widely interpreted as a reference to the October 7 Hamas attacks. Israel agreed to change the song after backlash.

Last December, the event’s organizers rejected calls for a boycott, saying it remained a “non-political event.”

Eurovision organizers recently hardened their stance, saying excluding Israeli broadcaster Kan from the competition would be a “political decision.”

The UK will be represented by “Years and Years” singer Olly Alexander. Earlier this year, Queers for Palestine circulated a letter calling on Alexander to withdraw from the competition in protest of Israel’s participation.

In response, Alexander and his fellow Eurovision contestants, including Irish nominee Bambi Thug, issued a joint statement supporting an “immediate and permanent ceasefire.” But they said they would not withdraw from the event.

Pro-Palestine demonstrators were seen outside a square in Sweden on Tuesday raising the Palestinian flag.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *