Protesters in Eurovision Host City Call for Boycott of Israel

People hold banners at a demonstration in connection with the municipal board's consideration of a citizens' proposal by the initiative 'No Eurovision in Malmo with Israel's participation' to stop Israel's participation in Eurovision, outside the City Hall in Malmo, Sweden, April 10, 2024. (Johan NilssonTT News Agency/via Reuters)
People hold banners at a demonstration in connection with the municipal board's consideration of a citizens' proposal by the initiative 'No Eurovision in Malmo with Israel's participation' to stop Israel's participation in Eurovision, outside the City Hall in Malmo, Sweden, April 10, 2024. (Johan NilssonTT News Agency/via Reuters)
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Protesters in Eurovision Host City Call for Boycott of Israel

People hold banners at a demonstration in connection with the municipal board's consideration of a citizens' proposal by the initiative 'No Eurovision in Malmo with Israel's participation' to stop Israel's participation in Eurovision, outside the City Hall in Malmo, Sweden, April 10, 2024. (Johan NilssonTT News Agency/via Reuters)
People hold banners at a demonstration in connection with the municipal board's consideration of a citizens' proposal by the initiative 'No Eurovision in Malmo with Israel's participation' to stop Israel's participation in Eurovision, outside the City Hall in Malmo, Sweden, April 10, 2024. (Johan NilssonTT News Agency/via Reuters)

Protesters waving Palestinian flags and banners on Wednesday called for a boycott of Israel at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in the Swedish city of Malmo that will host the event next month.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes Eurovision, bills the song contest as a non-political event.

But the global political backdrop often weighs on the contest, which this year takes place amid protests and boycotts over the devastating Israeli military campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, affecting cultural events across Europe.

"I think there is no way that Israel should be able to participate in Eurovision and it's complete double standards that they let them participate when they kicked Russia out," said Malmo resident Mats Rehle, 43, who works in a bookshop.

Protesters outside Malmo city held a banner calling for the boycott of Israel above the Eurovision logo, while another banner featured red stains to look like blood and a pair of scissors cutting the chord to a microphone displaying an Israeli flag.

The EBU in 2022 banned Russia from Eurovision after several European public broadcasters called for the country to be expelled following its invasion of Ukraine.

The union has said it suspended the Russian broadcasters over "persistent breaches of membership obligations and the violation of public service values."

The organizers' decision to include Israeli broadcaster KAN has sparked protests from artists and ministers, but the EBU said in January that Eurovision was not a contest between governments and that KAN met all competition rules.

The union has so far resisted calls for Israel to be excluded from Eurovision, and on Wednesday urged people to refrain from online abuse directed at some participating artists.

"We have all been affected by the images, stories, and the unquestionable pain suffered by those in Israel and in Gaza," the EBU said in a statement.

"However... we wish to address the concerns and discussions surrounding this situation, especially the targeted social media campaigns against some of our participating artists," it added.



Brad Pitt’s F1 Movie Set for Release in June 2025

Brad Pitt. (AFP)
Brad Pitt. (AFP)
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Brad Pitt’s F1 Movie Set for Release in June 2025

Brad Pitt. (AFP)
Brad Pitt. (AFP)

Brad Pitt's as-yet unnamed Formula One movie will be released globally on June 25 next year, with a North American debut two days later, F1 and Apple Original Films announced on Tuesday.

The film is being made with the cooperation of teams and drivers and directed by Joseph Kosinski, whose "Top Gun: Maverick" grossed $1.49 billion worldwide, with Jerry Bruckheimer as producer.

It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in cinemas and IMAX.

Seven-times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is a co-producer, with filming starting last year and continuing during selected grand prix weekends this season.

The production team have had a garage and pitwall stand as a fictional 11th "APX GP" team.

The plot sees Pitt, who is 60 years old in real life, star as a former driver making a Formula One comeback alongside Damson Idris, who plays his rookie team mate, at APX.

Other cast members include Academy Award winner Javier Bardem and best supporting actress nominee Kerry Condon.

Formula One said production of the movie would complete at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.

The sport is hoping the movie cements the appeal of the Netflix docu-series "Drive to Survive" that has boosted Formula One's popularity and growth worldwide and particularly in the key US market.

Formula One now has three US races in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas.

"We've already seen the great work and impact of the Netflix show and I think this will take it to new heights beyond that," Mercedes driver Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari at the end of the season, said last year.