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‘I’m competing in Eurovision – but I don’t think Israel should be’-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

‘We couldn’t stay silent on the matter.’

‘I’m competing in Eurovision – but I don’t think Israel should be’-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

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Ireland’s Eurovision 2024 entry Bambie Thug has spoken out about the controversy surrounding Israel’s inclusion in the competition, stating they don’t agree with the European Broadcasting Union’s decision.

The 31-year-old singer will be taking to the stage in Malmo, Sweden, with their song Doomsday Blue for a chance to perform in the Grand Final on Saturday, alongside the UK’s entry Olly Alexander and the host country’s Marcus and Martinus, after Loreen’s second win last year.

Bambie and It’s A Sin star Olly, 33, have been amongst acts facing immense backlash for refusing to boycott the Song Contest, with fans urging them to step back in a protest against Israel’s inclusion, amid the ongoing war.

The war against Hamas has killed more than 35,000 people in Palestine, and injured a further 77,000 in Gaza, according to figures obtained by Al Jazeera, however, the EBU have doubled down on their position to include Israel’s act Eden Golan.

In a shared statement, Years & Years frontman Olly and Bambie joined entrants from Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland to address the controversy, saying they do ‘not feel comfortable being silent’ and ‘stand united against all forms of hate’.

They added that ‘we feel it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.’

Bambie Thug is representing Ireland in Eurovision (Picture: EBU/Lily Lytton/PA Wire)

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The musician is bringing Ouija pop to the Song Contest (Picture: EBU/Lily Lytton/PA Wire)

Bambie has now spoken about the immense criticism they’ve been receiving, telling ‘We couldn’t stay silent on the matter. I basically said what I wanted to say in my statement, but it is down to the EBU and it is down to even my broadcaster.

‘I’m getting a lot of targeted abuse that I don’t think it’s entirely fair, actually, when I’m not the one that’s making the decisions, but I am extremely pro Palestine and it is disappointing that the EBU has made this this decision because I don’t think it’s correct.’

Following backlash, and horrific transphobic hate, non-binary artist Bambie has taken a break from social media, and is trying to heal while going to therapy.

They went on: ‘It’s a lot to take, from the transphobic abuse online and also just coming for my character in terms of this boycott thing.

‘My sister would often call me up and say one of the comments in like a silly voice to try and make me not feel it as much but I’ve had to stop looking at them because even subconsciously, if you’re seeing that all the time, it’s not doing you any good, certainly not doing me good for my mental health.’

Olly Alexander is representing the UK (Picture: WireImage)

The Tsunami singer went on: ‘I’m in therapy at the moment for a lot of trauma, so I just need to really bubble myself, because otherwise I wouldn’t get through this period.

‘I really need to prioritise the fact that I am healing and also the fact that I just don’t need to see all that abuse because I know who I am. I know where I stand.

‘People online can be really, really, really nasty, and I think they forget that there’s a person behind the screen, especially when you become in the public eye.

‘So I’m okay, I’m prioritising my healing. It is difficult but I’m here for progression of myself and healing of myself and that’s all I can really do, work on me.’

Eurovision has sparked immense backlash in recent months over including Israel in the Song Contest, with more than 2,000 artists from Iceland, Finland, and the host country Sweden signing open letters asking for Israel to be banned.

Bambie has been forced to take a break from social media after receiving vile abuse (Picture: Lily Lytton)

The artist has openly shared their pro-Palestine views but rejected calls for a boycott (Picture: Becca Geden)

Protests in some of those countries have called for Israel to be suspended from the Song Contest following Israel’s retaliation in Gaza after the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7.

Stars including Dame Helen Mirren, Boy George and Sharon Osbourne are amongst those who have signed an open letter supporting the country’s inclusion, after it was shared on non-profit body Creative Community For Peace, who campaign against cultural boycotts of Israel.

There was further controversy over Israel’s entry Eden Golan singing October Rain, which contained lyrics that described the situation around the Hamas attack that killed around 1,200 people and took hundreds hostage.

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan later agreed to change the lyrics to the song, and said they had reached out to the songwriters to ‘readjust the texts, with full artistic freedom’ before being sent to the EBU for approval.

The earlier statement shared by Eurovision entrants including Olly and Bambie read: ‘We want to begin by acknowledging the privilege of taking part in Eurovision.

Eden Golan is representing Ireland at Eurovision (Picture: REUTERS)

Sweden is hosting after Loreen’s epic win (Picture: PA)

‘In light of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel, we do not feel comfortable being silent. It is important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages.

‘We stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.’

It continued: ‘We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.

‘We feel it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.’

Their statement came as Jean Philip De Tender, Deputy Director General of the EBU, said: ‘The European Broadcasting Union acknowledges the depth of feeling and the strong opinions that this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – set against the backdrop of a terrible war in the Middle East – has provoked.

‘We understand that people will want to engage in debate and express their deeply held views on this matter. We have all been affected by the images, stories and the unquestionable pain suffered by those in Israel and in Gaza.

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

‘The decision to include any broadcaster, including the Israeli broadcaster Kan, in the Eurovision Song Contest is the sole responsibility of the EBU’s governing bodies and not that of the individual artists. These artists come to Eurovision to share their music, culture, and the universal message of unity through the language of music.’

The statement stressed the EBU’s previous explanations for the inclusion of Israeli broadcaster Kan, saying: ‘Constructive debate is a positive consequence of such decisions.

‘However, while we strongly support freedom of speech and the right to express opinions in a democratic society, we firmly oppose any form of online abuse, hate speech, or harassment directed at our artists or any individuals associated with the contest. This is unacceptable and totally unfair, given the artists have no role in this decision.’

The statement ended: ‘The EBU is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for all participants, staff, and fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to promote the values of respect, inclusivity, and understanding, both online and offline.

‘We urge everyone to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue and support the artists who are working tirelessly – on what is a music and entertainment show – to share their music with the world.’

Bambie has disagreed with the EBU’s stance amid controversy over Israel’s inclusion (Picture: Lily Lytton)

Bambie earlier told Late Late host Patrick Kielty: ‘I stand with anyone doing the boycott. I think if I wasn’t in the competition, I would also be boycotting. There are a lot of moving parts.

‘At the end of the day, without the group of us who is pro-Palestine, it is less competition for the other side to win and it’s less of solidarity there. Obviously it’s incredibly heavy and I am extremely behind everybody.’

They went on to echo the sentiment that they don’t believe the EBU are ‘making the right decision’.

Elsewhere in the interview with, Bambie spoke about feeling confident in their performance and proud of their feat in getting to Eurovision.

They said: ‘I’m an independent artist and other than this I would have never been put in front of so many people, so soon, unsigned or anything, so that’s incredible.

‘I think it’s a feat in itself to get there, and for us to be in the top 10 after my country not being in the top 10 or in the final for 10 years, and even just for the alt scene, and the queer scene and goths, it’s great that we’re there.

Bambie will be performing Doomsday Blue (Picture: EBU/Lily Lytton/PA Wire)

The singer is focused on ‘healing’ themselves after suffering from horrific online abuse (Picture: Lily Lytton)

‘Seeing that the doors are opening for more not-so-Normcore music is really encouraging, and I’ve gotten a lot of love since being involved and people finding my art, finding my old songs and it’s been a good boost because it is hard grinding this plane independently so I’m proud of myself regardless.’

After seeing idols Conchita Wurst and Celine Dion take to the Eurovision stage, Bambie is now bringing in their own genre – Ouija Pop.

‘Ouija Pop is any music that I touch,’ they laughed. ‘It’s no constraints, no rules, genre blending and tinged with a cult language because even if I’m writing a pop song, there’s a cult language in there, I just can’t get away from it, I don’t want to.’

Despite smashing barriers and gender norms, Bambie has somehow been on the end of shocking abuse from a priest earlier this year, who said Ireland is ‘finished as a country’.

He hit out at Bambie, saying, according to The Mirror: ‘The poor devil can neither sing nor dance,’ going on: ‘I don’t care what [they] dressed like, but on [their] back… there was a slogan and I said to myself, “Is this what we need now to win the Eurovision”.’

In the bizarre rant, he reportedly went on to say: ‘Do we need somebody now to shove this orientation in our faces to get votes. And [they] spoke about you know that [they are] neither here nor there – adults who know what I’m talking about. [They’re] sort of somewhere in the middle… binary, non-binary I can’t get my head around. It reminds me of bale, hay or straw. But that’s okay too. I have no problem.’

‘He can watch while I do amazing and put more queer everywhere,’ Bambie hit back at the priest who delivered a bizarre sermon about them (Picture: Becca Geden)

At the time, Bambie laughed on X: ‘They’re making sermons about Bambie Thug,’ and has since vowed to that they’ll ‘put more queer everywhere’.

‘It is wild,’ Bambie reflected on the ‘sermon’, explaining: ‘I really only started going back to Ireland this year, I’ve lived in London for 11 years, and I think in a queer bubble you forget that a lot of the world is backwards in their consciousness.

‘It was like as if I was watching something from 15 years ago, they had a whole sermon about me which is great, you know, they’re talking about that in the Church, but… it’s funny to think that they’re still having these conversations because the whole thing wasn’t even about my gender identity.

‘It was the fact that I had the word queer on my back of my coat, that’s what he was talking about. And I’m just like, it’s 2024.

‘Also, I just don’t understand how you can be a preacher for a religion and then try and parade this religion as all loving and all this and then act like that, which I see like a lot from people who are very staunch in their beliefs sometimes and it just doesn’t really add up for me.

‘So I don’t know, he can watch while I do amazing and put more queer everywhere.’

The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals air on Tuesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 9, at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer. The Grand Final airs on Saturday, May 11, at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer.

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