Sputnik: What’s your take on Europe’s call to not yet book tickets to Israel for the Eurovision contest next year?
Cnaan Liphshiz: Actually, you know, I asked EBU, the European Broadcasters' Union, for a comment on this, because their tweet saying, “Hold off, stop buying tickets!” actually caused a lot of speculation, because anything connected with Israel will cause that. I got a pretty laconic answer: They said that the final decision would be taken by the host broadcaster in conjunction with EBU and its members.
What I read from this is that behind the scenes, there is an effort to try to get Israel not to host the Eurovision in Jerusalem, rather elsewhere in Israel. I think that is the likeliest goal that the EBU has in mind to avert a political discussion on this.
Sputnik: Do you think it’s because they are concerned with security and possible clashes?
Cnaan Liphshiz: Security could be an issue. In Jerusalem there are conflagrations of violence, periodically seen in the context of the US Embassy’s move to Jerusalem. I think right now Jerusalem is more of a political symbol than a security concern, and that’s why the association, which has contesters from Turkey and Greece, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Ukraine and Russia, and all these conflicts, wants to avoid politicization as much as possible.
Sputnik: Some experts have pointed out that the move was made amid concerns over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How justified are these concerns?
Cnaan Liphshiz: The conflict in itself is of course a tragic one. Seen in the context of the Eurovision, however, it would be highly discriminatory to single Israel out. I’m saying this because it’s hosted a number of countries with territorial disputes – Ukraine in 2016, Azerbaijan in 2011, Serbia 2007, when it was still occupying Kosovo; Turkey in 2003 that occupied part of Cyprus, UK in 1997 when they were still occupying Northern Ireland – so a list of countries with territorial disputes, and to single Israel out over this territorial dispute would be, I think, unacceptable to the international community.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.