Icelandic Eurovision act Hatari stated they wish to see the end of Israel’s occupation of Palestine in a Eurovision press conference yesterday. Band members Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson and Klemens Nikúlasson Hannigan answered questions from reporters during the band’s first press conference for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. “Well we, of course, hope to see an end to the occupation as soon as possible and that peace will come. We are hopeful,” said Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson.
A reporter asked Hatari if they intend to make a political statement during their stay in Israel, especially in light of the events of recent days in Israel. The events refer to the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel where 23 people have lost their lives. Qassam rockets from Palestine were fired upon Israel, and the Israel military shelled the Gaza area as well as directing airstrikes on the area.
Matthías of Hatari responded so to the question: “The comment I think you’re referring to is one we gave in Icelandic media. What we said was we would use out agenda-setting influence that comes through participation, or that really comes through any spectacle that catches the public eye. Through this agenda-setting influence, we would try to uphold a critical discussion around the context in which this contest is being held. And that is what we’ve tried to do in our conversations with various media and will continue doing. In regards to what happens on the stage itself, we are determined to take part in the contest and comply with the rules, just like everyone else.”
The moderator of the discussion attempted to shut down any further comments and questions on this subject, but Hatari member Klemens Nikúlasson Hannigan asked the reporter to finish his question. After the duo of Matthías and Klemens consulted each other, Matthías commented further: “Well we, of course, hope to see an end to the occupation as soon as possible and that peace will come. We are hopeful.”
The whole discussion and their answers can be seen in the video below. The discussion regarding Israel’s occupation of Palestine starts at around the 17:45 mark in the video.
Hatari will represent Iceland in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which will take place in Tel Aviv on May 14. Should Hatari advance to the final, they will perform on May 18 in the Expo Tel Aviv arena.
When the Icelandic national broadcast channel RÚV asked Hatari about the press conference, they had this to say: “There was a press conference where we received a lot of good questions, but admittedly the moderator tried to censor us. But we didn’t let her control that,” said Klemens. Matthías stated that they had been warned about this, “We attempted to bring our matters forward, and spoke about the fact that it would be preferable that the occupation came to a stop. It would have been preferable to delve deeper into that subject but we might attempt to do so in conversation with reporters,” Matthías added.