Eurovision, Israel, and Hamas

And let’s not forget Islamic Jihad…

Eurovision 2019 is done and dusted. For Israel, it appears to have been a huge success. Notwithstanding the sniping from the usual suspects, the event passed off without a major hitch, and injected a real buzz into the Tel Aviv scene for the best part of the week up to and including the final. Supporting events were so popular, the police made public appeals for people not to attend as they were already overcrowded! While much of the crowds were locals, anecdotal evidence suggests that tourists also had a great time. Given the western media’s hunger for anti-Israel stories, it would appear the anecdotal evidence is more persuasive than usual.

Points of note:

  • Allowing hackers to broadcast a fake missile warning must have been embarrassing for Kan and its security infrastructure. It could have been worse. I hope lessons have been learned.
  • Allowing Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie the public platform of Newsnight for his anti-Madonna (and anti-Israel) bile was typical BBC. It was probably the corporations’s revenge for having to suffer the event being in Israel. Gillespie scored a wonderful own goal with his variant on the ‘Some of my best friends are Jewish’ excuse for his anti-Semitism: ‘All my heroes are Jews.’
  • The Icelandic band Hatari, who threatened much, but restricted themselves to waving Palestinian flags, won the damp squib award. Presumably it was beyond their ken to work out that they were in the only country in the Middle East that wouldn’t be out for their blood because of some band members’ sexual preferences. Oh, and wouldn’t it be ironic if the European Broadcasting Union banned Iceland for one year by way of punishment for the flag waving?
  • Madonna’s daft stunt of displaying Israeli and Palestinian flags side by side was, at least, pro Peace. I think it was a waste of time, though it did give the media a wee pause for thought.

One question: where were Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Why no rockets? Not having access to all the relevant information, I can only guess at the reasons behind the peace and quiet. Are the terrorist factions secret fans of Eurovision? Is the Palestinian population secretly keen on Eurovision? (This is the Middle East. Anything’s possible.)

More seriously, why would rabid anti-Israel terrorist groups, known to have the capability, not take the opportunity to sow death, destruction and terror while simultaneously trashing a worldwide event that Israel was hosting, giving plentiful coverage to their genocidal mission?

  • Were they paid off? By who? With what?
  • Were they afraid? Had Israel threatened to wipe out their leadership?
  • Did they believe their political standing would be enhanced by not firing?
  • Were they worried about killing non-Israelis?
  • Is their rocket supply less extensive than previously thought?

Even more seriously, now that there are no imminent distractions, what can be done to bring about a more enduring state of calm? While Tel Aviv (and Ra’anana) escaped scot-free the last time around, the communities around Gaza and elsewhere suffered horrendously – as they always do. Would any other country in the world tolerate repeated assaults as we do? The retaliatory bombings by the Israeli Air Force don’t seem to have any meaningful deterrent effect – too much of the terror infrastructure is underground and embedded alongside civilians, meaning there would be a bloodbath if Israel attacked those parts. And any ground offensive would see many IDF casualties, for which there is limited political enthusiasm. Not least this is because overthrowing Hamas and Islamic Jihad – definitely achievable, but at a price – would create an even bigger problem, namely leaving Israel responsible for the population of Gaza.

Does Bibi have a solution?

Does anybody?