Switzerland's Nemo Wins Eurovision 2024 as Israel's Eden Golan Finishes 5th Amid Protests

Switzerland's Nemo wins Eurovision Song Contest with operatic pop song "The Code", marking country's first win since 1988. Contest overshadowed by controversy surrounding Israel's participation, with pro-Palestinian protests and death threats against Israeli entrant Eden Golan.

Bijay Laxmi
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Switzerland's Nemo Wins Eurovision 2024 as Israel's Eden Golan Finishes 5th Amid Protests

Switzerland's Nemo Wins Eurovision 2024 as Israel's Eden Golan Finishes 5th Amid Protests

The 68th Eurovision Song Contest, held in Malmö, Sweden, concluded with Switzerland's Nemo emerging victorious with their operatic pop song "The Code." Nemo, who identifies as nonbinary, made history as the first openly nonbinary winner of the competition. Their triumph marks Switzerland's first Eurovision win since Celine Dion's victory in 1988.

However, the contest was overshadowed by controversy surrounding Israel's participation. Israel's entrant, 20-year-old Eden Golan, faced pro-Palestinian protests and death threats leading up to her performance. Despite the backlash, Golan finished in 5th place with her power ballad "Hurricane," earning a mix of boos and cheers from the audience in Malmö Arena.

Why this matters: The controversy surrounding Israel's participation in Eurovision highlights the ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestine, which have far-reaching implications for international relations and global security. The incident also raises questions about the role of cultural events in promoting peace and unity in the face of political conflicts.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Malmö's city center, protesting Israel's involvement in the competition amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Some protesters chanted "Israel is a terror state" and called for a boycott of the event. Police removed a handful of vocal protesters from in front of the arena.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes Eurovision, investigated an incident involving the Dutch artist Joost Klein and a man suspected of making unlawful threats towards a Eurovision employee. Klein was subsequently disqualified from the contest. The EBU stated that Klein's disqualification was unrelated to Golan or any other performer.

Despite the tense political atmosphere, the competition showcased a diverse array of musical talents from across Europe. Croatia's Baby Lasagna secured second place with 337 points, while other notable performances included France's Slimane, who paused his song to deliver a speech advocating for unity and love for peace, and Portugal's Iolanda, who performed with fingernails decorated in a pattern resembling a kaffiyeh, a symbol of solidarity with Palestinians.

In the end, Switzerland's Nemo triumphed with a total of 591 points, combining scores from national juries and public voting. Upon accepting the trophy, Nemo expressed hope that Eurovision would continue to stand up for peace, acknowledging the intense political environment surrounding this year's contest. "There were a lot of things that didn't seem like it was all about love and unity... Eurovision's commitment to peace and love needs a lot of work still," Nemo remarked.

Key Takeaways

  • Switzerland's Nemo wins Eurovision 2024 with "The Code", making history as first openly nonbinary winner.
  • Israel's Eden Golan faces pro-Palestinian protests and death threats, finishing 5th with "Hurricane".
  • Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators march in Malmö, protesting Israel's involvement in Eurovision.
  • Dutch artist Joost Klein disqualified from contest due to unrelated incident involving unlawful threats.
  • Nemo calls for Eurovision to promote peace and unity, acknowledging intense political environment.