Repeated political statements from Hatari, in particular those critical of the Israeli government, have tested the patience of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Aftonbladet reports.
Even before departing for Tel Aviv, Hatari have been fairly open about their intent to make use of the venue to criticise the Israeli government’s policies towards the Palestinian people. This has included an open challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a wrestling match, with stakes that very clearly reference occupation of sovereign territory.
This continued after their arrival. At their first press conference in Tel Aviv, vocalist Matthías Haraldsson told reporters that they “hope to see the end of the occupation”. After taking a tour of Hebron with a Palestinian tour guide, Hatari vocalist Klemens Hannigan told Eurovision blog wiwibloggs that “the segregation is so clear.”
Matthías agreed, adding: “The occupation has many faces; its uglier one is definitely the one you mentioned in the south now, from Gaza. But you can also see it so obviously in the West Bank and many other places in this country. The political reality is really conflicting and absurd, and the apartheid was so clear in Hebron.”
All of this has apparently pushed the patience of the EBU to the limit, as Matthías told Aftonbladet that the EBU “told us very clearly that we have reached the limit for EBU’s tolerance, if we have not already passed it, when it comes to politics.”
The band have faced concerted criticism for allegedly politicising Eurovision. It still remains to be seen how Hatari, who have made a career out of being status quo-defying provocateurs who continuously upend expectations, will respond.
The final takes place on Saturday. Get a commemorative poster of our Hatari cover story here. Read our live-tweet thread of the evening here, and follow us on Twitter to see Saturday’s live commentary. Read more about Hatari’s aesthetics here.
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