Daily Israel Report

Sderot Band Teapacks Threatens to Quit Eurovision

Teapacks, the Sderot band representing Israel at this year’s Eurovision, says their anti-terrorist song is being censored by the organizers.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 5/9/2007, 4:03 PM

Teapacks, the Sderot band representing Israel at this year’s Eurovision song contest, says their anti-terrorist song is being censored by the contest’s organizers. The Eurovision Song Contest, inaugurated in 1956, is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union.

Teapacks says that the distortion of their song’s meaning may force them to withdraw from the contest altogether.

Eurovision organizers originally considered banning Teapacks’s song “Push the Button” altogether, positing that the song was too political for the competition. The song features a humorous critique of certain countries’ bids for nuclear weapons intended to be used to wipe out the Jewish State – namely Iran, though the Islamic republic is not explicitly mentioned.

“The BBC started all this scandal!” Teapacks lead singer Kobi Oz said in response to a British reporter’s questions about the song. “It's very nice to know that the BBC thinks the Iranian president is crazy but we didn't intend this song to be written only about Ahmedinejad, there are a wide selection of cuckoos all over the world and every one has a button and this is very dangerous, so this is a danger coming through we can't close our eyes to, a lot of fanatic violence around, and the Israeli people are not fighting back, just waiting for another blow. So this song says that you have to laugh in the face of terror – it is terror versus rock n' roll and rock n' roll will win!

Oz held a press conference following the band’s second rehearsal in Helsinki, where he accused Eurovision organizers of making their performance look like “a video game from the 80s.”

The group offered as an example of the interference an animated background that producers had replaced the band’s footage of tanks and explosions with. The new background features an image of the globe becoming blue and white, the colors of Israel’s flag – something Teapacks members speculate is meant to insinuate Jewish influence.

"[The directors] made terrible mistakes about our song, we had no chance to perform it live in the right quality", Oz said. “If they intend to turn our message into chaos and sloppy disorder, perhaps we should disqualify ourselves."
Oz later backed up from his statements, saying he believes the song is being discriminated against because it is in the hip-hop style, and not because it is Israeli.

Oz says that if the group’s artistic vision for the song continues to be distorted, the group may be forced to simply hum the song softly onstage in order to comply with contractual obligations to perform.