War Of The Nerds: Iceland Solves the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - The Reykjavik Grapevine

War Of The Nerds: Iceland Solves the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Published March 3, 2019

Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Lilja Jónsdóttir

If there is something holier than Christmas in Iceland, it would probably be Eurovision. Our readers know this. Icelanders go completely berserk over the annual song contest. The whole nation literally convinces themselves—like some otherworldly collective delusion—that this year, we will conquer this odd spectacle that can only be characterized as the flashiest cultural shitshow on earth. Well, except the Oscars, perhaps.

Everything But Win

But this year, Icelanders are facing a moral dilemma. Israel won the 2018 competition,with Netta’s hilariously bad song, ‘Toy’— offspring of Japanese cultural appropriation and the sound that chickens make when a fox enters their pen. Still confused? Well, that’s Eurovision for you.

Close to 30,000 Icelanders (and some foreigners) have signed a petition urging the Icelandic National Broadcast (RÚV) to boycott the festival because of the war crimes that the Israeli government has been accused of committing against the Palestinian nation.

RÚV ignored this petition and will select Iceland’s contribution to the competition a few days after this issue goes to print. Icelanders had never seen a problem with Israel’s participation in the competition until they won. So Israel can participate, but not win, according to the logic of the protesters. Well, whatever keeps the Eurovision party going.

A new hope

The Icelandic competition offers, though, an unexpected redemption for the rest of us. Cybergoth band Hatari (‘The Haters’) have swept the qualifiers and are likely to win the chance to represent Iceland in Tel Aviv. (Keep in mind, this article was written before the final competition, so who knows what’s in store.) Hatari’s hilariously nihilist approach has given Icelanders an opportunity to send a subtle—well, as subtle as a song called ‘Hatred Will Prevail’ can be—political message to the competition and introduce some saucy BDSM at the same time. Sound like a win-win for everyone. Except Palestinians, of course.

But no matter what happens, Iceland will compete in Eurovision, and we will definitely lose, and the Israeli government will keep on supporting settlements in the West Bank. Because Eurovision doesn’t achieve anything, except flooding our radio once a year with bad music.

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