Holland, Sweden and Australia are the bookmakers’ favourites going into Saturday’s Eurovision song contest finals, as last year’s winner and current host Israel battles to emerge with the biggest brand boost.
The glitzy and oh-so-glamorous finale will give the Jewish state a chance to showcase its credentials as a culturally progressive nation.But the choice of Tel Aviv as host has stoked months of controversy geopolitically, and consternation among pop stars sympathetic to the rival Israeli and Palestinian causes.
Palestinians are planning a simultaneous alternative event dubbed “Globalvision”.
Parties are set to take place in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Haifa in northern Israel — home to a significant Arab population — and London and Dublin.
Anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence erected a billboard in Israel with the slogan “Dare to Dream of Freedom,” playing on the 2019 contest’s slogan “Dare to Dream”.
How far those rival initiatives — and the vociferous clamour of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and British singer Peter Gabriel against Israel playing host — will steal the limelight from the contest is open to debate.