Israeli Eurovision Singer Eden Golan Booed During Semi-Final Rehearsals

The decision to allow Israel to remain in the Eurovision Song Contest has been a controversial one among fans.
Eden Golan performing during a rehearsal for the Eurovision semi-final
Eden Golan performing during a rehearsal for the Eurovision semi-final
picture alliance via Getty Images

Israeli singer Eden Golan was met with a decidedly mixed reaction during rehearsals for her first Eurovision performance.

This year’s Eurovision has been the subject of much debate after many fans called for a boycott due to Israel’s involvement, amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Ahead of her performance in Thursday night’s semi-final, Eden performed a dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening, in front of a live studio audience.

Footage recorded from this performance depicted loud boos while Eden on stage, as well as cries of “free Palestine” from some audience members.

crowd reaction to israel.

— jay🍉 | 🇳🇱🇱🇹🇪🇪 (@kaarijay) May 8, 2024

Heres another video

— Escxfav🇮🇪🇨🇭🇭🇷 (@Escxfav2) May 8, 2024

Crowd yelling Free Palestine 🇵🇸during Eden's performance

— Priyant (@Priyant1987) May 8, 2024

Israel’s national broadcaster Kan said in a statement: “Eden stood on the stage during the dress rehearsal with pride and gave an incredible performance. They did not silence her and they will not silence us. See you tomorrow.”

Back in February, it was reported that Eurovision organisers had taken issue with the song Israel had submitted due to its supposedly “political” lyrics.

At the time, the country’s national broadcaster claimed that they would rather withdraw from the competition than change the song, which was initially titled October Rain.

However, the Israeli delegation later appeared to have had a change of heart, after it was confirmed that Eden would be going ahead with representing Israel at the competition, with a rewritten version of her original song, now titled Hurricane.

The first semi-final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest got off to a bit of a controversial start, after guest performer Eric Saade – who is of Palestinian descent – was rebuked by organisers for wearing a traditional keffiyeh around his wrist as part of his stage costume.

All performers are made aware of the rules of the contest, and we regret that Eric Saade chose to compromise the non-political nature of the event,” a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said.

Eric subsequently issued a statement in Swedish to SVT, which has been translated by one fan on X to read: “I got this [keffiyeh] from my father as a little boy, to never forget where our family is from. Back then I didn’t know that it would one day be called a ‘political symbol’.

“It’s like calling ‘Dalahästen’ [a traditional Swedish horse statue] a political symbol. In my eyes it’s only racism.”

He added: “I just wanted to be inclusive and wear something that felt real to me – but the EBU seem to think that my ethnicity is controversial. It says nothing about me, but everything about them. I say like this year’s ESC-slogan: United by music.”


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