Iceland’s Hatari could face “consequences” for waving Palestinian flags at Eurovision 2019

The event is supposed to be apolitical.

Icelandic Eurovision act Hatari could be set to face punishment after causing controversy by waving Palestinian flags on screen during the weekend’s contest in Tel Aviv.

The Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, while Madonna caused a stir with her divisive and politically-charged performance at the final. She wasn’t alone, with Icelandic BDSM punk band Hatari also breaking the competition’s strict apolitical policies by holding up banners bearing the word “Palestine” and the colours of their flag while their vote was announced – before cameras quickly cut away.

The band then shared footage of organisers taking the flags away from them.

Eurovision have since released a statement saying that there could well be “consequences” for their actions.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest rule,” organisers said. “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.”

There were reports earlier this year that the “anti-capitalist” techno group could have been banned from performing due to organisation Shurat HaDin arguing that they had previously backed a cultural boycott – which  see them being denied entry to Israel.

“We received information that the band representing Iceland supports a boycott of Israel,” said founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. “Last summer, the band signed a petition distributed in Iceland calling for the boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest.

After being chosen, Hatari announced plans to protest against Israel on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest, despite the fact that it would violate the rules of the competition.

“According to the amendment to the Entry into Israel Law, a person who is not an Israeli citizen or in possession of a permanent residence permit in Israel will not be granted a visa or residency permit, if he or the organisation or body he is working for has knowingly issued a public call to boycott Israel, as defined in the Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott.

“The Icelandic band publicly and explicitly called for and supported a boycott of Israel. They must be prohibited from entering the country.”

This comes after the group previously attempted to win favour during Söngvakeppnin by challenging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a wrestling match.

Meanwhile, the weekend also saw Madonna speak out to defend her performance, after drawing criticism for featuring two dancers embracing one another while wearing Israeli and Palestinian flags.

“Madame X is a freedom fighter,” wrote Madonna. “I am grateful. For the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world.”