Icelandic musician Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson, who is leading an effort to have Iceland withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest this year when it is held in Israel made some decidedly antisemitic remarks on his country’s national radio Rás 1, including this pearl: “The tragedy is that Jews learned nothing from the Holocaust. Instead, they have taken up the exact same policy of their worst enemy.”
According to the Rekyavik Grapeline, thousands of Icelanders support boycotting Eurovision if it takes place in Israel, because support for Eurovision is “tacit support for the Israeli government’s policies regarding the Palestinian people.”
Páll Óskar (“Hjálmtýsson” is a patronymic (it means “son of Hjálmtýr”) and not his family name; he is addressed by his first names, “Páll Óskar”) has probably been the most vocal supporter of the boycott.
“The reason why the rest of Europe has been virtually silent is that Jews have woven themselves into the fabric of Europe in a very sly way for a very long time. It is not at all hip and cool to be pro-Palestine in Britain,” he said in the interview.
Local media became filled with sharp criticism from many Icelanders, to the point that, only a few hours later, Páll Óskar posted an apology and a retraction:
“I admit unreservedly that I put the Israeli government, the Israeli military and the Jewish people under the same hat,” he wrote. “I made judgements and generalisations about Jewish people. … I take full responsibility for these words, take back my remarks about Jewish people, they are wrong and hurtful. I will take responsibility in actions, from this point forward, and will never again speak ill of the Jewish people, wherever in the world they may live.”
He also confessed, “My generalisations, which mixed up Jewish people with Zionist policies, sparked a strong response which I willingly take responsibility for.”