israel gaza genocide eurovision bribes astroturf vots
© The GrayzoneIsrael's fifth-place Eurovision contestant Eden Golan
Israeli officials hyped their country's 5th place Eurovision finish as proof of quiet global grassroots support for their assault on Gaza. Now, they admit they manipulated the results through an international propaganda blitz.

On May 11, Israeli candidate Eden Golan took home 5th place at the Eurovision contest in Malmo, Sweden. The decision to allow the Israeli singer to participate sparked heated protests and calls to boycott the event. Against the rancorous backdrop, many were surprised by Golan's apparent success, which was driven almost entirely to votes by individual audience members. Israeli media and government officials quickly seized on the news as proof that deep down, Europeans secretly support Israel's military rampage in Gaza.

While the mere 52 points that judges awarded Golan would have left her in 12th place, viewers managed to propel the Israeli singer into 5th place by awarding her an astonishing 323 points via televoting. In the end, Golan received the maximum possible 12 points from audiences in Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and received the second-highest possible 10 points from Albania, Austria, Cyprus, Czechia, Moldova, Slovenia, and Ireland.

Israeli media and government officials wasted little time in depicting the fifth-place finish as proof of a burgeoning pro-Israel consensus quietly emerging across the globe.

"The world found its' [sic] voice, as Eden Golan found hers," gushed a commentator in the Times of Israel. In the Jerusalem Post, another writer declared that the result "signifies that despite the ongoing public noise in the pro-Palestinian arena, despite the constant attacks against the Jewish State, there is a silent majority" in favor of Israel. That talking point was quickly transposed to Europe itself, with an author in Britain's Daily Mail insisting two days later that results made it "clear the protesters running amok in London and our universities do not represent the silent majority."

David Saranga, the Acting Deputy Director of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seemed to delight in the news as well. "We knew that the situation was less serious than it is reflected in the demonstrations on the streets of Europe, but we did not expect such overwhelming support," Saranga told Israel's Ynet, claiming that "the fact that even countries where public opinion is critical of Israel, such as Sweden or Ireland, gave Israel a high score" indicates there are "underground currents" of pro-Zionist sentiment throughout the continent.

The reality, however, is that Israel's success in Eurovision's popular vote was actually the result of manipulation by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which encouraged pro-Israel audience members across the world to cast each one of their maximum allotted 20 votes for the Israeli candidate.

"It is true that we, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acted among friendly audiences to increase voting," Saranga admitted. Elsewhere, the Times of Israel acknowledged:
"The truth is that there was obviously an organized, dedicated effort by Israel supporters to give their votes to Golan... and it clearly drew votes from many who don't otherwise tune into the Eurovision each year."
Much of this "organized, dedicated effort" was the work of the Israeli government itself. According to Ynet, "the support Golan received from the European audience was preceded by a campaign by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government publicity bureau for Eurovision fans, in which the Israeli representative addressed them in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Czech, Latvian, Estonian, Albanian, Georgian and English - and asked them to vote for her."

Slickly-produced advertisements on YouTube showed Golan urging viewers to vote for her, denouncing "the wave of hatred and Muslim demonstrations in Malmö," and warning of "a counter-reaction of the silent majority." According to Ynet, they were seen over 14 million times, with the English-language version racking up nearly 6 million views alone.

As Ynet explained, "the campaign appealed to audiences selected based on a careful analysis of the voting patterns of countries in the past and the interest those countries showed in the song "Hurricane." The Israeli outlet added, "the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Advertising Bureau put emphasis on Eurovision-loving audiences such as the LGBT community in Europe, members of fan clubs, journalists covering the contest and opinion leaders in the field."

On May 12th, as social media users began to sound the alarm about the Israeli campaign to manipulate the vote, the YouTube channel dedicated to promoting "Hurricane" was abruptly deleted.

Yet videos from other Israeli government sources remain online, including a recording by Tel Aviv's official Youtube channel instructing viewers to "vote for Hurricane," Golan's entry in the Eurovision contest. That video was widely republished by other official accounts, with even Israel's embassy in Nigeria and consulate in Bangalore encouraging locals: "don't forget to vote for Hurricane!"

This same message was reproduced by numerous Israeli officials across the globe, including its notoriously buffoonish UN Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission in Latvia, its Deputy Ambassador to the Philippines, multiple diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Israel's official Twitter account.

The Israeli consulate in New York even commissioned a billboard at Times Square exhorting passersby with what it called "a special message: Vote #6 for Eden Golan and her song 'Hurricane' this Saturday!"

Pro-Israel trolls apparently took up this offer in large numbers, with many proudly declaring that it was their first time voting in a Eurovision contest, and that they'd paid €20 to do so.

"20 votes for Israel, first time voting in Eurovision. I'd have forgotten were it not for the fuss caused by the far left anti-semites," wrote one. "I sent 20 votes from the United States. Never watched this Eurovision before. She's going to win," opined another. "I never ever voted in my life for this eurovision contest but hey! Her courage is worth every of the 20 votes I gave her AND the song is amazing 😍," a third remarked.

A headline in The Telegraph hints at the demographic behind the disproportionate number of votes cast for Golan: "To spite the woke, I will unashamedly vote for Israel at Eurovision." As the piece's author, Zoe Strimpel, explained on social media, "Eden Golan was splendid as well as brave — I voted several times for her and would have even if she'd been terrible."

Despite the best efforts of dedicated Zionists and their international propaganda apparatus, the Israeli entrant did not even crack the top three. The astroturf campaign apparently was not even sufficient to secure the popular vote, which went to Croatia's candidate. For now, at least, it appears the 'silent majority' is decidedly in the minority.