Iceland's Eurovision act displays Palestine flags during live final

Hatari are a leather-clad bondage punk trio.

Iceland’s Eurovision act could face punishment after displaying Palestinian flags during the live broadcast, organisers said.

Hatari, a leather-clad bondage punk trio, had been critical of Israel before Saturday’s grand finale, going as far as to challenge the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to a “friendly match of traditional Icelandic trouser grip wrestling”.

During the live final, the band members held up Palestinian flags while their public vote was being announced.

Israel Eurovision Song Contest
Hatari of Iceland perform the song Hatrio mun sigra during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final rehearsal (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

In a statement, Eurovision said the “consequences of this action” will be discussed by the contest’s executive board.

It 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 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.”

Hatari’s gesture was rejected by Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel (PACBI), which had demanded all acts pull out of the event.

In a statement, PACBI said: “Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists crossing our peaceful picket line.”

Eurovision is supposed to be “non-political” however the build-up has been marred by controversy and calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian activists.

During Madonna’s highly anticipated performance, her backing dancers displayed Israeli and Palestinian flags.

Organisers said it had not been part of the approved act.

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