Israel – The embassy of Israel in Sweden has threatened that Israel may withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, if strong security measures required by its delegation will not be granted by Swedish national broadcaster SVT. Israel is concerned about the situation in the host city of 2013, Malmö, which had made headlines especially in 2009 for anti-Israeli protests and riots.
According to Aftonbladet.se Malmö’s high percentage of Arab immigrant population continues to cause tensions between Jews and Muslims in the city. The tensions reached their climax when a Jewish boy was murdered. In 2009 a tennis match of the Davis Cup between Israel and Sweden was initially cancelled by the local governments. The International Tennis Association insisted on having the game played, however, but it was decided not to allow an audience into the stadium. Anti-Israel sentiment was especially high due to the Gaza war going on at the time. During the game over 6000 demonstrators for peace and the freedom of the Palestinians marched through the city. A group of about 100 went on to the tennis arena and tried to enter the premises. The result were clashes between these rioters and the police.
“We hope that Malmö has learned from its mistakes and we demand strict security guarantees during the festival period, in order to prevent issues as happened during the Davis Cup 2009. If not we will consider not to participate in the Contest in 2013, ” Patrik Lund, press manager of the Israeli embassy told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. The spokesperson for the city of Malmö responded to the demands by saying: “It was 2009 and Israel was in full conflict with the Palestinians during the Gaza war. That was the only reason for what happened. The situation is different now.” The producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 also thinks the security demands are exaggerated: “The Israeli delegation receives extra protection each year during the contest, I see no reason for extra measures in comparison with the previous host cities.” He adds: “We look into every single case and ensure that each participant and fan can come to Malmö in safety in oder to experience a great time here.”
Source= eurosong.be, Aftonbladet
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