Saturday, March 3, 2007

when politics impedes the arts!

Israel's explosive Eurovision entry pushes contest organizers' buttons
The Associated Press HELSINKI, Finland (Mar 3, 2007)

Eurovision Song Contest organizers said Thursday they might ban this year's Israeli entry, "Push the Button," because they say it has an inappropriate political message.

The song, to be performed at the contest in Helsinki in May, overwhelmingly won Israel's competition Wednesday. It's sung in English, French and Hebrew by the group Teapacks and seemingly refers indirectly to Iran's nuclear ambitions and its hardline leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition," said Kjell Ekholm, an organizer of the contest. "We'll have all the delegation leaders here in Helsinki next week, and I'm sure we'll talk about this case within the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) group."

The song warns about the dangers of nuclear war, but in an interview with the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, band members denied that the song is about Iran, calling that "absurd."

The lyrics of the song refer to "demonic" and "crazy rulers," and say that "he's gonna blow us up to ... kingdom come."

Ahmadinejad's recent anti-Jewish statements have added to fears in Israel that Iran's nuclear program is intended to produce weapons that could be used against that country.