A group of pro-Palestinian activists protested outside Eurovision's inauguration event in Tel Aviv on Sunday (12 MAY 2019) before being moved away by Israeli police.
As host of this year's Eurovision, Israel has tried to use the hugely popular song contest to flaunt itself as a tolerant and cosmopolitan country that is winning increased acceptance on the world stage.
But despite Israel's best branding efforts, the festival can't seem to overcome political conflict and controversy.
The group of a dozen protesters sat on the road blindfolded, some wearing t-shirts reading "Free Palestine" to protest against Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
"We're here to protest culture washing, to say no to sparkles and glitters while Palestinians are under occupation and to stand in solidarity with Gazans, calling for the right of return," said activist Lara.
A Palestinian-led BDS movement, which promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, has been calling on performers to pull out of the contest over Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
Dozens of European artists, led by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, signed a letter calling for the contest to be moved elsewhere.
Despite the shadows hanging over Israel's festivities, preparations are moving forward, with rival nations rehearsing their pop acts and Madonna confirming her appearance in defiance of BDS pressure.