Eurovision: Ireland’s Bambie Thug ‘cried’ when Israel made it to the final

The organisers behind Eurovision have repeatedly rejected calls to ban Israel from the contest amid its ongoing war on Gaza

Tom Murray
Saturday 11 May 2024 00:10 BST
Greta Thunberg among thousands protesting against Israel competing in Eurovision

Ireland’s 2024 Eurovision contestant Bambie Thug has said they cried when it was announced that Israel had qualified for the competition’s grand finale.

Israel’s participation in this year’s song contest has been met with a fierce backlash from Palestine supporters amid the country’s ongoing war on Gaza, where the death toll is believed to have reached as high as 35,000.

Israel’s representative, 20-year-old Eden Golan, was met with boos and shouts of “free Palestine” during the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final on Thursday 9 May.

Golan was successfully voted through following her performance in the semi-final and is now up against fellow delegates such as Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, the Netherlands’ Joost and the UK’s Olly Alexander.

Bambie, who uses the pronouns they/them, wore a keffiyeh scarf, commonly used to suggest pro-Palestinian leanings, and carried Irish flags when they spoke to journalists ahead of the event at Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Asked how they felt when Golan qualified, the singer, who has become the first Irish entry to make the final since 2018, said: “I cried with my team.”

Discussing Israel’s inclusion, they added: “It is a complete overshadow of everything, goes against everything that Eurovision is meant to be.

Bambie Thug (left) of Ireland and Eden Golan of Israel
Bambie Thug (left) of Ireland and Eden Golan of Israel (Getty Images)

“It’s a big, big community together and their contestant was never allowed to even meet us.

“God forbid we have some conversation where minds might be changed.

“It’s definitely putting a cloud above it for everyone.”

The singer also said they were fearful Ireland might miss out on votes due to the ongoing boycott to stop Eurovision.

In March, Bambie shared a statement, signed by a number of Eurovision contestants, setting out why they will remain in the competition.

Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up
Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

They said: “I am fearful that we will miss a lot of votes because of the boycotting and that those then will make someone else maybe more with the chance to win.

“But there are 200 million viewers and I think that, regardless, our performance stands out and it’s undeniable how theatrical ... a moment that is.”

Ahead of Golan’s performance on Thursday, a heavy police presence arrived at Malmo’s main square in anticipation of protests.

Bambie will perform at the grand finale on Saturday with their gothic song “Doomsday Blue”.

Irish premier Simon Harris said the “whole country will be rooting” for the singer when the contest takes place.

The EBU and Golan’s representatives have been approached for comment.

Additional reporting from the Press Association

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in