Iran, The Eurovision, and Us

Israel’s fortunes at the annual Eurovision song contest have never been easy, even though we have won the contest three times during its 51 year history. Israel first entered the contest in 1956, and often, the voting results from participating countries have been laced with controversy in regards to biased opinions against the Jewish State. This year, following a number of political controversies that have placed Israel in even more difficult relationships with the E.U. and other European countries, our song entry, sung by imported performer Eddie Butler and a mixed chorus group of Israeli and Afro American singers, finished almost last with only 4 votes, and these coming from (of all places) France.

Israeli singers, including ones like Sarit Hadad and Shiri Maimon, have recently managed to hold their own against the European hordes, and walk away with at least a feeling that they finished respectfully, despite all the negative flack being thrown at them by an increasingly hostile Europe. Last night’s poor results on behalf of the “European Jury” may cause future Israeli native and guest singers to think twice –even thrice – before making the trip to this contest again; this time to be held in Helsinki Finland.

Speaking of the Finns, their ‘heavy metal’ version of The Rocky Mountain Horror Show was nothing less than absolutely disgusting. Many other countries, including Sweden, Germany and even Russia (which came in second) had much better songs than the Finns whose living in Lapland must be so boring that they have to go to these extremes to win a song contest. Their gyrations and bizarre costumes were so grotesque that any sane person can only wonder if the Continent of Europe is once again slipping back into the Dark Ages, like what occurred following the destruction of the Roman Empire by the Huns and Visigoths during the Fourth and Fifth Centuries C.E.

This entire scenario comes on the heels of what has been going in Iran, courtesy of their astute president Mahmoud Admadinejad, who recently proclaimed that Israel is a non legitimate country and therefore should be “wiped off the face of the map”. This almost happened last night in Athens, as it became obvious that no voting country was prepared to give Israel even the least bit of praise or consideration. The four votes that France did give us were most likely because French Jewish citizens, especially the younger ones, got on the phones and cast their vote for the Jewish State. In a way, this was very fitting as more and more French are making Aliyah and purchasing properties in Israel, as they appear to see the writing on the walls concerning their future in the French Republic.

Iran even went one step further in regards to it’s own Jewish community by discussing in Parliament the possibility of passing a law similar to the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ passed by the German Third Reich in the mid 1930′s requiring Jewish citizens to wear stars to identify them as Jews. Though not yet passed into law, the mere discussion of this possibility already has Iranian Jews a bit worried, with their lovely President already being compared to Adolf Hitler.

Not that Israel’s song would have won, but it would surely have finished in a much better position had these modern day ‘Huns’ not been out to assist Mr. Ahmadinejad in his plans. As the saying goes: today the Eurovision, tomorrow Kristalnacht!”

27 comments

  1. Daniel says:

    I totally agree. In fact I have written a likewise article on my blog, but wasn’t too sure of it first. Your blog confirms though that I am not alone with my feelings. Have a read of my own version and tell me if you think my hypothesis is fully agreeable to you too?

    See

    http://danielscounter.blogspot.com/2006/05/and-as-blacks-loose-it-for-israel.html

  2. Gail says:

    What absolute nonsense. Israel did so badly because its entry was a gospel song, and gospel has never sold well in Europe. The Finns won because their entry was a campy rock song and their performance was entertaining. It was a horror pantomime and I can only laugh at those, like you and the Greek Orthodox Church, who see it as a sign of the apocalypse. And to suggest there’s some kind of equivalence between what’s going on in Iran (and other Middle Eastern countries) and European attitudes to Jews is delusional and offensive. Political relations were hardly any better last year, yet Israel came 7th. Lebanon was kicked out of the competition when it said it wouldn’t show Israel’s entry. And levels of anti-Semitism in the EU are now lower than in the US – will you be urging American Jews to make Aliyah as you do with French Jews in the article? And I’d love to hear your explanation for Malta’s poor performance – what political axe were the evil hordes of continental Europe grinding there?

  3. RR says:

    Actually, Israel came in 4th last year. Pretty impressive considering that we don’t have any neighbors who vote for us in exchange for our votes- for example, the Scandinavian “bloc.” Our song last year was pretty good.

    This year’s wasn’t. Plus, the Finnish song was too ridiculously campy NOT to win.

  4. Daniel says:

    Gail, I remember that last year some countries compeletely failed voting on Israel. In any case I think you made a point, albeit we all know that Israel always also battles politics. Somebody who left a comment on my blog also said that the age factor and tits are important, and last not least rock is undeniably popular in the East of Europe and you are right a good joke sometimes sells better than a complicated musically high art piece.

  5. Anders Jakobsen says:

    Oh my…

    All coutries have an excuse. In GB it was the Iraq war, Denmark because they tried something different (yes, twist is really out there, riiiight), Russia because “Europe just hate us”.

    But this just takes the biscuit. This is the best conspiracy theory since the moon landing. Fanatic christian groups in Finland claimed Lordi was sent by the Russians to destabilize the country. What are you claiming now? That behind the masks there full blooded Iranian ayatollahs? But everything

    I listen to a lot of diverse types of music (I am listening to Arvo Pärt right now) and haven´t listened to hard rock in ten years. But you have to be deaf to not realise that Lordi actually delivered a song that was well composed and technically well delivered. Add to that the fact that they are a real band, doesn´t rely on the skin factor, was almost all the other artist favorite and you have the right winner.

  6. Suzzuki says:

    Lordi is not in any way satanic. They take their ideas from horrormovies. Are you banning horror movies too..? Because you condemn Lordi too. (by the way, i´m from Finland)
    And for you to write like that from Lordi is childis, be ashamed. It seems that some of you can´t loose. We Finns are proud of lordi!!! Lordi Rocks!!!
    They are nor wreally monster! It´s just mask. In real life the Lordi members are kind men and women, who love what they are doing.
    I don´t even remember what kind was you song…

  7. Well done finland !

    Bollox to the main story by the Isreali though.

    just because the majority of Europe is stuck in Limbo by produding boring, uninspiring music I really don’t think you’re in any position to express any viable comments regarding Lordi’s entry for Finland.

    If you got your head out of the sand and took a look around you might see that civilizations have moved on in life. Music is about celebrating life, the light and the dark sides and forgetting our differences. Rock, and especially Lordi are a prime example of liberty, freedom and expression winning over the short sightedness of some people. Finland should be proud that they have such a group. I don’t see any famous Isreali groups in music history.

    I’m from the UK and we accept things for what they are and are open minded. I loved Lordi’s entry and for them to win was a prime example that a good band, regarless of image are appreciated for the music and entertainment.

    Horror Rock is a winner , Well done Lordi and Finland !

  8. Soki says:

    First of all, Lordi made a great show at eurovision!

    I think we all have to realize, that nearly 20 of 24 performences were the same… sexy girls, less cloths und pop musik. THIS is sad!

    I´m from germany, but when we sit together at my friends home and watched the eurovision song contest we all were finns in some way!

    It´s so damn pointy-headed to say that the moderate performence was the reason for istraels bad output, but the hate of whole europe against the jews… sry, but that´s laughable!

    Yeah, last but not least: congratulation finnland!!! :)

  9. ReiN says:

    As an Israeli, I’m appalled by this piece garbage of an article.

    Although laced with shreds of above-average knowledge of history, this article shows no broad-mindedness at all and hardly any intelligence. Claims that Europe’s vote is anti-semitic have been heard for many years now, though interestingly only when we get a low score.
    Somehow I doubt I’ll find posts such as this one from 1998 (1st place), ’99 (5th) and ’05 (4th), if I were to look them up.

    You, sir, are not unlike an angered mutt, barking madly at one after one has turned his back and left.
    I’ve grown used to this kind of accusations and your kind of people. You’re classified in my mind as the sort of person who blames everyone but himself for his own troubles, a proverbial bottom-feeder who favours wielding the trump card of anti-semitism over facing reality.
    Reality, this time, is that Israel’s song wasn’t up to par and was voted accordingly.

    Friends, I would like to apologize on behalf of Israel and urge you not to think badly of us because of the senseless ramblings of a narrow-minded buffoon.

  10. A.W.Koskenniemi says:

    Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. Be a sport. It’s only a silly song contest.

    I think Israel has won at least 2 times during my existence (or was Dana the third winner, I don’t quite remember.) and returned home at least with a reasonable score. Finland has scored several times zilch, nada, zero from ESC and this is the first victory ever in the 40 years history of our participation. More than 20 points has been considered a relatively good result.

    I think there is no Europe wide anti-fennic conspiracy.

  11. Riihele says:

    Hello there. Well, all I can say is that the Israeli song was the one I gave my vote for even though it is cronic. I gave the points for the beautiful Hebrew words in it! My favourite one was the Lithuanian one for the humour, style n comedy. Finland – my homeland – won though I am not personally fond of that type of song = show. Anyhow, we won and by a mile!!

  12. Grendel says:

    If Europe will slip into Middle Ages, your opinions will grant you the job of the main inquisitor.

  13. Latex beats Botox says:

    Thank you, ReiN, for those few words of calm. They are balm to the soul.
    Lordi won for the simple reason that enough (young) people in enough countries with swift fingers and a mobile phone decided they had had ENOUGH of semi-dressed chicks with over-ripe gazongas and minimal singing & dancing talent, and the result was a surprising and refreshing display of democracy in action, whether one LIKES the Lordi tune or not.
    As the initial poster wrote (well, almost wrote): “The Botox contingent’s gyrations and bizarre lack of costumes were so grotesque that any sane person can only wonder if the Continent of Europe is once again slipping back into the Age of the Dirty Postcard”.

    Attributing the failure of this year’s Israeli entry to a Europe-wide anti-Semitism or some cock and bull conspiracy involving a Finnish theatrical rock band and the Iranian mullahs is so laughable that it really ought to be entered by the IBA at the Golden Rose Competition in Lucerne – in the comedy category.

    Sometimes a bad song is just a bad song, and if the French Jewish citizens got on the phone and voted for the Jewish State, well, that’s very laudable in its way, but it’s really a campy SONG contest and not a yardstick of national identity or merit. Nor does being Israeli, or Irish, or Latvian, or Armenian, or even Monagasque ENTITLE one to get points. Ask any Finn about that.

  14. Janssoni says:

    “Speaking of the Finns, their ‘heavy metal’ version of The Rocky Mountain Horror Show was nothing less than absolutely disgusting. Many other countries, including Sweden, Germany and even Russia (which came in second) had much better songs than the Finns whose living in Lapland must be so boring that they have to go to these extremes to win a song contest.”

    I can’t believe you’re talking about prejudice towards the Israeli people in an article in which you post the type of ignorant drivel quoted above.

    Granted, you are entitled to your opinions, but the fact remains that Finland won, by a wide margin (the highest number of points in Eurovision history, I might add), for the first time ever. And just to clarify, Lordi have been around for a long time. The masks and costumes weren’t something cooked up just to stir up controversy and gain media coverage. They’ve always looked the way they do.

    When it happened, I personally couldn’t believe that the Finns for this band to be their representatives at Eurovision, but they did, and it seems that the rest of europe was ready to follow suit. Kind of gives you an idea about people’s attitudes towards this silly competition, doesn’t it?

    To claim that Israel was somehow ostracized from this from this competition for anti-semitic reasons is, in my opinion, purile, and fundamentally childish. And as for finding parallels between Eurovision and middle-eastern politics, well, that’s just got LOL written all over it.

  15. Migel says:

    Last time I checked Israel is not even part of Europe. I have never understood why the country takes part in the eurovision song contest. Lebanon – for instance – is much closer to Europe ;-)

  16. david says:

    I say yeah – I say yeah
    Would you love a monsterman
    Could you understand beauty of beast
    I would do it all for you, would you do it all
    Do it all for me

  17. She says:

    Yes, let’s face it. Our entry this year was simply not good enough. It wasn’t a bad song, it was just very plain vanilla. Nothing exciting, and too bland to make an impression in this year’s contest. Sure, there’s anti-Semitism in Europe, but if it’s widespread enough and organized enough to influence the results of a sappy, fun, song competition, we’ve got much bigger problems than losing at Eurovision. Oh, and I could be wrong about this, but I believe that Eddie Butler was actually born in Israel, and isn’t an “imported performer”.

  18. Ed G. says:

    Look people, the Finns are ok, even though, as in other Scandinavian countries a six month winter can be a bit of a drag.

    Israel’s song was only there because no other Israeli group wanted to come. Last year, Shiri Maimon, the country’s contestant, literally sang her little heart out and actually came in fourth – not bad.

    The message this article is trying to get through is that the Eurovision can and has been politicised – especially against Israel. And judging from recent goings on in the E.U., the ‘climate’ may be starting to change there.

    After, all, people though Hitler was funny in the early 1930′s. They didn’t think that way afterwards. And the thing about the ID badges IS being connsidered by the Iranians.

  19. Petri F says:

    Its funny how much talk the Lordi’s winning has caused … But to connect it and to talk about an idea of Pan-European anti-semitism is absurd, when even the argument that there is a connection between the critisism of Israeli state and anti-semitism is standing on thin ice. To me its odd that the critisism of actions of Israelis, as citizens of an individual state, are always seen as attack to their religion. As Finnish “I.R. Politics nerd” I am stunned and offended by this writing for two reasons.

    First because it presents discaring a single Israeli act as another sign of European hostility towards Jewish religion and implyes that Europe is facing a intellectual regression. Why? Because Finland won Eurovision. I cant help but wonder why a song contest even have to be seen as politics.

    Second … The author talks about increased racism towards Jewish, but also states that Finland is such a hole that nothing but B.S. comes out of it and now when the B.S. has won by a score never seen before we should consider how it hurt your feelings!! How can you try to protect your own people and on the same time talk like that about another nation. You should be ashamed of yourself! (If I had a mossad it would be after you ..) :)

    I am glad that people like ReiN know the difference between of me feeling anti-Israeli (singular = the author) right now and being a neo-nazi. I wish the best.

    … The way how the author differentiated Isreal from Europe makes me think what Miguel said. If there is such a gap between Europe and Israel what the author describes, why Israel is taking part to the Eurovision song contest.

  20. Anders Jakobsen says:

    “The message this article is trying to get through is that the Eurovision can and has been politicised – especially against Israel.”

    Funny thing to say. Thats is exactly the same the Russian press is saying Europe is doing to them, the british press is saying Europe is doing to them. Even the French, the Danish, the Swedish and the Germans are using the same excuse. All have their own excuse because, hey, it cannot actually be the quality of their artists performance, could it?

    Everybody heard about this article http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/2/1.html and found the perfect excuse, ignoring the fact, that the political vote don´t actually decide the winners, since they always get votes from across the line, this year even more so.

  21. Riihele says:

    Oooppsy – Douze Blondi points pour moi for the spelling mistake: I meant to write that the Israeli song this year was/is, chronic. Sorry…
    Are the Blondi points counted on this blog?!!

  22. Rhubarb says:

    Tuuppa Rolloon!

  23. Miriam says:

    Sorry for this reality check, but you’re not the center of the world. Put up with it or keep on dreaming.

  24. serjozha says:

    “Many other countries, including Sweden, Germany and even Russia (which came in second) had much better songs than the Finns whose living in Lapland must be so boring that they have to go to these extremes to win a song contest.”

    The first part of the sentence is a matter of taste, and I will not argue with you. However, if you have a look at a map, you see that Lappland consists of the nothernmost parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Enough for geography… Well, living in Finland may be boring, I admit, compared to your extreme life in Israeli that we can see every day on TV… Our monsters and pyrotechnics are, after all, plain “panis et circenses”…

    “Their gyrations and bizarre costumes were so grotesque that any sane person can only wonder if the Continent of Europe is once again slipping back into the Dark Ages, (—)”

    In my humble opinion, you should probably be more concerned aboout the half-naked chicks that have crowded the stage…

  25. vesku says:

    Heh, it’s good to know Dana International wasn’t wearing a bizarre costume, and that Ah-Ba-Ni-Bi is Hebrew and means something! ;)

    BTW, you won with a song called Hallelujah once didn’t you? So we just copied Israel and joined the club!

  26. Mikko says:

    Sad losers.

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