Israel Astroturfed Eurovision Vote but Lost Anyway, Government Admits – Wyatt Reed 5/14/24


Israeli officials hyped their country’s 5th place Eurovision finish as proof of quiet global grassroots support for their assault on Gaza. Now, they admit they manipulated the results through an international propaganda blitz.

On May 11, Israeli candidate Eden Golan took home 5th place at the Eurovision contest in Malmo, Sweden. The decision to allow the Israeli singer to participate sparked heated protests and calls to boycott the event. Against the rancorous backdrop, many were surprised by Golan’s apparent success, which was driven almost entirely to votes by individual audience members. Israeli media and government officials quickly seized on the news as proof that deep down, Europeans secretly support Israel’s military rampage in Gaza.

While the mere 52 points that judges awarded Golan would have left her in 12th place, viewers managed to propel the Israeli singer into 5th place by awarding her an astonishing 323 points via televoting. In the end, Golan received the maximum possible 12 points from audiences in Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and received the second-highest possible 10 points from Albania, Austria, Cyprus, Czechia, Moldova, Slovenia, and Ireland.

Israeli media and government officials wasted little time in depicting the fifth-place finish as proof of a burgeoning pro-Israel consensus quietly emerging across the globe.

“The world found its’ [sic] voice, as Eden Golan found hers,” gushed a commentator in the Times of Israel. In the Jerusalem Post, another writer declared that the result “signifies that despite the ongoing public noise in the pro-Palestinian arena, despite the constant attacks against the Jewish State, there is a silent majority” in favor of Israel. That talking point was quickly transposed to Europe itself, with an author in Britain’s Daily Mail insisting two days later that results made it “clear the protesters running amok in London and our universities do not represent the silent majority.”

David Saranga, the Acting Deputy Director of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seemed to delight in the news as well. “We knew that the situation was less serious than it is reflected in the demonstrations on the streets of Europe, but we did not expect such overwhelming support,” Saranga told Israel’s Ynet, claiming that “the fact that even countries where public opinion is critical of Israel, such as Sweden or Ireland, gave Israel a high score” indicates there are “underground currents” of pro-Zionist sentiment throughout the continent.

The reality, however, is that Israel’s success in Eurovision’s popular vote was actually the result of manipulation by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which encouraged pro-Israel audience members across the world to cast each one of their maximum allotted 20 votes for the Israeli candidate.

“It is true that we, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acted among friendly audiences to increase voting,” Saranga admitted. Elsewhere, the Times of Israel acknowledged: “The truth is that there was obviously an organized, dedicated effort by Israel supporters to give their votes to Golan… and it clearly drew votes from many who don’t otherwise tune into the Eurovision each year.”

Much of this “organized, dedicated effort” was the work of the Israeli government itself. According to Ynet, “the support Golan received from the European audience was preceded by a campaign by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government publicity bureau for Eurovision fans, in which the Israeli representative addressed them in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Czech, Latvian, Estonian, Albanian, Georgian and English – and asked them to vote for her.”…

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