Turkish PM: Israeli Eurovision Win Was International Conspiracy
With Turkey-Israel ties at a nadir, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim likely felt there was not much else to lose when he contended that Israel’s recent victory in the Eurovision music competition was the result of an international conspiracy. “They changed the voting method to ensure that this could happen. They planned everything so that it could be held in Jerusalem…to foster conflict between religions,” the Turkish leader asserted in a live television interview. He added that Israeli contestant Netta Barzilai, who claimed victory with her smash-hit “Toy,” is a terrible performer and that “Israel knows only to kill, not to sing.” By virtue of Barzilai’s win, Israel secured the right to host next year’s competition, an eventuality that has already sparked much commotion. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev initially insisted that the contest be held Jerusalem, however, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly intervened by demanding that the event not be politicized and that public broadcaster Kan be allowed to choose the venue. The move came after Argentina’s national soccer club earlier this month decided to cancel a friendly match with Israel amid intense pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement; this, after Regev insisted the game be moved from Haifa to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested on Saturday that soccer star Lionel Messi missed a crucial World Cup penalty in a draw against Iceland because of Argentina’s last-minute withdrawal from the warm-up game in Israel.