Politics beats Lebanese pop hope

Politics has pulled the plug on pop after Lebanon’s first ever entry to the Eurovision Song Contest was withdrawn due to the presence of Israeli participants.

Lebanon is officially in a state of war with Israel
Lebanon is officially in a state of war with Israel

Aline Lahud had her song Quand tout s’enfuit (After everything finishes) withdrawn as under Lebanese law the national broadcaster Tele-Liban would be unable to show the Israeli entry.

“Tele-Liban has confirmed to the European Broadcasting Union the withdrawal of Lebanon from the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 to be hosted in Kiev by NTU, the national Ukrainian broadcaster, on 19 and 21 May,” the Eurovision Song Contest website said.

Under the rules of the contest, countries entering the contest must broadcast the competition’s stages uninterrupted.

State of war

“Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel. If the Israeli contestant wins, we would have to show the celebrations,” head of Tele-Liban Ibrahim Khury said.

He added that Lebanon would also be obliged to air the Israeli website on which viewers could vote for the Israeli participant. “I cannot do this,” he said.

“It’s a very sad moment”

Composer Jad Rahbani

For the budding Lebanese pop star, the news was a blow.  
“It’s a very sad moment. We are musicians, we only think about arts and music. We don’t think about politics and we don’t like politics to control us and our music,” the composer of the song, Jad Rahbani, told Aljazeera.net.

“It’s a sad moment for us and the Lebanese people especially at this time as we are living in critical moments,” he said in reference to the ongoing political upheavals in the country.

Past incidents

Lebanon’s withdrawal of its Eurovision entry is not the first time that Israel has affected Arab countries’ entries into international competitions.

A Miss Lebanon once dropped out of a Miss Universe pageant after she refused to be photographed with Miss Israel.

In 1978 the Jordanian broadcaster showed pictures of flowers when the Israeli participants took to the stage, avoided any mention of Israel’s win in the competition and announced second-place Belgium as the winner.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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