Eurovision Voting Under Scrutiny

( – One of the Eurovision judges from Norway admitted that he was not one of the country’s judges who awarded points to Israeli singer Eden Golan in the grand final of the annual song contest this weekend.

Norwegian juror Daniel Johansen Elmrhari, who goes by the name Daniel Owen, posted a video on social media responding to “a flood of messages and comments” after the jury from Norway allotted eight points to Golan, explaining that he played no part in awarding points to Israel’s entrant.

Owen claimed that the Norwegian points for Golan were as much of a surprise to him as it was to those complaining about it. He explained that the jurors vote individually without discussing it among the country’s other judges to ensure a fair judgment without mutual influence.

He insisted that it was important to him to clarify that he had nothing to do with Norway’s allocation of points to Israel.

Owen explained the rules each country’s judges were given before the competition, including not letting their political views impact their evaluation of the artist or the song and not discriminating based on nationality, political views, gender, or any other reasons. He admitted that he was unable to abide by the jury rules because of his feelings for what was happening in Gaza. He said he did not believe that Israel should have been permitted to participate in this year’s Eurovision contest “at all.”

Owen apologized for being part of the Norwegian jury and closed his video by saying, “Free Palestine.”

Eden Golan’s appearance at last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest spurred protests in the host city of Malmö, Sweden, with thousands of pro-Hamas protesters taking to the streets to protest her involvement in the contest.

Norway, which threatened to boycott the contest late last year if Israel was allowed to participate, finished the contest dead list with only 16 points. Israel finished in fifth place.

Before the grand finale, Norway’s 2023 entry, singer Alessandra Mele, said in a post on social media that she had withdrawn from presenting the points awarded by her country in protest against Golan’s participation in the event.

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