RÚV, the Icelandic National Broadcast Service, has decided to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv next year, RÚV reports. Israel will be hosting the competition after Netta Barzilai's victory this year. It had previously been speculated that Israeli authorities would host the show in Jerusalem, but they ultimately decided to host the event in Tel Aviv. According to RÚV, the fact that Eurovision will be in Tel Aviv played a large part in the decision to take part.
All of the other Nordic national broadcast services will take part, but RÚV had been pressured to boycott this year's song contest due to the situation in Gaza and Israeli treatment of Palestinians. RÚV program manager Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson states that the challenge was taken seriously. "The decision is grounded in the fact that it's not a political event, but rather a gathering of different nations who have made it their main mission and guiding light to spread the message of unification and the power of peace found in pop music, and culture altogether. To this point, we've not heard of nations who intend to boycott the competition in Israel due to political reasons. The Nordic national broadcast services have been hand-in-hand as they've all confirmed their attendance.", part of his statement reads.
A group of artists recently published an open letter in the Guardian where they challenged European nations to boycott Eurovision 2019. Two Icelandic artists signed the letter, musicians Daði Freyr and Hildur (Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir).