Plans for Eurovision 2019 in Israel continue despite plagarism accusations


Singer Netta Barzilai waves to the audience at Altice Arena in Lisbon after Israel’s song “Toy” is announced winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. (Pedro Gomes/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The European Broadcasting Union is continuing plans to host the 2019 edition of Eurovision in Israel despite accusations of plagiarism.

The EBU told the Jerusalem Post late last week that it considers accusations against Israel’s song “Toy,” which won the song contest in May, as “baseless rumors.”

The songwriters of “Toy,” Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, last week received a letter from Universal Music Group, claiming the song was plagiarized from the White Stripes’ signature song, “Seven Nation Army,” released in 2003.

The letter requests clarification stemming from the similarity of the harmonic progression in the chorus of “Toy.” No lawsuit has been filed.

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Among the possible solutions would be for Medalie and Beger to turn over the Eurovision-winning song’s rights to Universal, which would make the company the song’s publisher and distributor, the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot reported.

Israel won the right to host the 2019 Eurovision after singer Netta Barzilai won the competition last month with “Toy.”  Four Israeli cities are said to meet the criteria to host Eurovision and to submit bids:  Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat.