AFP Amends After Reporting Israeli Participation Clouded Whole Eurovision

In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, Agence France Presse has commendably corrected after charging that Israel’s participation in the 2024 Eurovision clouded the whole song contest. 

Israeli contestant Eden Golan (Image from Kan 11 X account)

The May 8 article, “Palestinian symbol protest clouds Eurovision contest,” had claimed: “The whole contest has been clouded by the participation of Israel, which has faced criticism over humanitarian conditions in Gaza amidst the war against Hamas.”
It’s not Israel which clouds Eurovision. It’s the haters of Israel who do so.
Eden Golan, the Israeli contestant, did not call for anyone to be excluded from the event. Neither she nor her team threatened any participants or pose any  security threats. To the contrary, she was reportedly the target of potential threats, and was instructed to stay in her hotel room for her own safety, aside from official Eurovision events. 

And Golan is hardly the only potential target. As Israel’s National Security Agency warned in raising the travel warning from Sweden from level to 2 to level 3:

Malmo is recognized as a hub for anti-Israel protests, given its high concentration of immigrants from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. These protests are a weekly occurrence and often involve demonstrations, calls for harm against Jews and Israelis, and the burning of Israeli flags, among other actions. Notably, on October 7 (the day of Hamas’ attack on Israel), anti-Israeli elements in Malmo openly celebrated the tragic events that occurred in Israel . . . 

Furthermore, alongside the protests in Malmo, there has been a recent surge in calls from global jihadist groups and radical Islamists to carry out attacks against Western targets. This includes specific threats against Israelis and Jews worldwide, with a particular focus on events garnering significant media attention. In light of this, it’s worth mentioning that just recently (on March 19), two ISIS activists were apprehended for plotting an attack on the Swedish parliament.

In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, AFP commendably amended the article, replacing the problematic sentence with the following:

This year’s competition has faced calls for Israel to be excluded over the war in Gaza, which the organisers refused. Thousands of people are expected to attend pro-Palestinian rallies throughout the week in Malmo.

Media outlets including Yahoo, Barron’s and France24 which published AFP’s initial problematic wording subsequently corrected, underscoring the importance of CAMERA’s vital and timely work correcting wire service stories which appear in multiple media outlets around the world.

In addition, AFP’s Eurovision coverage the next day included the following information about threats and fears which clouded Eurovision festivities (“Sweden’s Eurovision brings kitsch in the shadow of Gaza“):

Security is a major concern, especially as Sweden raised its terror alert level last year following a series of protests involving desecrations of the Koran.

Security checks have been stepped up, in particular for access to the various sites, where bags will mostly be prohibited.

The police presence has also been strengthened, with reinforcements coming from Norway and Denmark.

But police spokesman Jimmy Modin said the first days of Eurovision week were calm and that there was no threat directed at the competition.

Some members of the Jewish community are planning to leave the city for the weekend.

“With Eurovision, there’s a kind of intensification. The feeling of insecurity increased after October 7, and many Jews are worried,” said Fredrik Sieradzki, a spokesman for local group The Jewish Community of Malmo.

“I can’t really be happy about Eurovision, even though as a congregation we think it’s good that everyone is welcome here in Malmo, including Israel,” he added.

Security around the synagogue has been stepped up, while on social networks, threats have been directed at Israel‘s singer Golan.

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