Israel's Eurovision webcast hacked as protests continue

Esequiel Farfan
May 15, 2019

The Eurovision Song Contest final will then be broadcast on Saturday (May 18) at which Madonna is set to perform.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have called for performers and global broadcasters to boycott the show due to Israel being the host nation.

Performing at the competition's first semi-final in Tel Aviv, Miller-Heidke stunned voters with her operatic tune Zero Gravity.

The hacking of Kan's website did not affect the regular television relay of the show on Tuesday night in Israel or overseas.

Kathy McCabe is in Tel Aviv as a guest of SBS.

Kan played down the incident, noting that the evening ended without any other incident as Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland, San Marino and Slovenia made it through to Saturday's finals.

KAN CEO Eldad Koblenz told Army Radio on Wednesday that Hamas appeared to be behind the attack - an assessment also confirmed by the National Cyber Directorate.

"But I am happy to say that within a few minutes we managed to assume control over this phenomenon".

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More than 60 LGBT+ groups across Europe have advocated for a boycott of this year's Eurovision Song Contest as well as a wide variety of celebrities. The winning country customarily hosts the following year.

Calls for her to boycott were led by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who released an open letter asking her to "not undermine" the Palestinian struggle for "freedom, justice and equality".

The Israeli Defense Forces have reportedly deployed a large number of the country's Iron Dome missile Defence batteries anticipating further violence ahead of the anniversary of the U.S. embassy moving to Jerusalem as well as the Palestinians' Nakba Day, which was marred by violence in 2018.

"I'll never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda", Madonna said in her statement to CNN, "nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be".

"Israel's been flouting worldwide law, and human rights lie trampled on the floor".

According to official data obtained by the AP news agency, Israel's government went on a spending spree in its occupied West Bank settlements following the election of President Donald Trump.

But efforts by activists calling for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel have failed to move the competition. Just like South Africa, time to boycott apartheid.

Madonna's statement echoes Cave's sentiment, as she defends her right to perform to Israeli fans while saying her "heart breaks" over the violence.

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