The European Broadcasting Union has said Iceland will ‘face consequences’ following a protest for Palestine at Eurovision.

Hatari, the queer BDSM group, held Palestine flags when the camera cut to them in the green room.

More than 60 queer Palestinian and other groups called for artists and viewers to boycott the contest.

The EBU, which runs Eurovision, commented on the protest.

A spokesperson said: ‘In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Hatari, the Icelandic act, briefly displayed small Palestinian banners whilst sat in the Green Room.

‘The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest’s rules.

‘The banners were quickly removed and the consequences of this action will be discussed by the Reference Group (the contest’s executive board) after the contest.’

The rulebook has also suggested Iceland may be disqualified from future contests.

Duncan Laurence

Duncan Laurence. | Photo: Instagram/Eurovision

Rule 2.6 reads: ‘The ESC is a non-political event. All Participating Broadcasters, including the Host Broadcaster, shall ensure that all necessary steps are undertaken within in their respective Delegations and teams in order to make sure that the ESC shall in no case be politicized and/or instrumentalized.

‘All Participating Broadcasters, including the Host Broadcaster, shall ensure that no organization, institution, political cause or other cause, company, brand, product or service shall be promoted, featured or mentioned directly or indirectly during the Event.

‘No messages promoting any organization, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the Shows and within any official ESC premises and/or event (i.e. at the venue, during the Opening Ceremony, the Eurovision village, the Press Centre, the Press Conferences, etc.).

‘A breach of this rule may result in disqualification. The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows, the ESC as such or the EBU into disrepute.

‘No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC.’

Hatari, who came 10th in the final for their song Hatrio Mun Sigra (Hate Will Previail) have since added a Palestinian flag to their Instagram account.

The band previously criticized Israel for the government’s treatment of Palestinians.

‘[It’s a] case of the strong preying upon the weak,’ they said. ‘[It’s using] force against people who, lacking equivalent military backing, are unable to stand up for themselves.’

The BDS movement, however, also criticized Hatari.

‘Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity,’ they said.

But it wasn’t just Iceland that sent a message about Palestine.

In Madonna’s performance, one of her backing dancers wore an Israel flag on the back of their jacket. Another wore a Palestinian flag.

The two walked off with their arm around each other – as a message of peace.

Madonna insisted on closed rehearsals for the performance. No one, not even the organizers, knew what she was planning.

The EBU confirmed they had not vetted this part of the performance. However, they did not say whether she will also face consequences.

The spokesperson said: ‘This element of the performance was not part of rehearsals which had been cleared with the EBU and host broadcaster KAN.

‘The Eurovision Song Contest is not a political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.’

Hatari could have faced a lofty fine if the band had chosen to boycott Eurovision.

All acts must sign a contract that they may face financial repercussions if they choose not to perform.

2018’s Israeli Eurovision winner Netta previously said on the proposed boycott: ‘When you boycott light, you spread darkness.’

Gay host of Eurovision this year, Assi Azar, furthermore told Gay Star News: ‘I say to everyone that wants to boycott…. by boycotting you will never learn or understand the other side.

‘We want to live in peace next to our neighbors. That’s what I think Eurovision is all about. Live and let live, love and let love,’ he said.

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