Irish celebrities call for boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Group of Irish celebrities urge national broadcaster to boycott Eurovision 2019 in protest over Israel’s treatment of “Palestine”.

Elad Benari ,

Eurovision logo
Eurovision logo

The calls for a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to take place in Israel, are continuing.

The latest call came from a group of Irish celebrities who called on the Irish national broadcaster RTE to boycott Eurovision 2019 in protest over Israel’s treatment of “Palestine”.

According to the Irish website Extra, the Irish Campaign to boycott the Eurovision in Israel 2019 has now secured the support of 20 public figures including actor Stephen Rea and musical artists Mary Coughlan, Luka Bloom and the members of Kíla.

Former winner Charlie McGettigan was one of the first to call on RTE to boycott the event, to be held in Tel Aviv next May 18.

Calling on RTE not to participate and for musicians not to make submissions to the contest, the Irish campaign group warned the station that they could be left without a song after a group representing Irish songwriters said they will boycott next year’s competition in Israel.

The Irish campaign, part of an international one, handed in a petition of more than 11,000 signatures calling for a boycott during a meeting with RTE Director General Dee Forbes, according to Extra.

The letter outlines that participation in Eurovision 2019 would be unconscionable due to Israel’s “oppression of the Palestinian people”.

Israel won the right to host Eurovision in 2019 after Netta Barzilai’s victory in this year’s edition of the song contest. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) recently announced that the 2019 contest will take place in Tel Aviv.

An earlier call on Ireland to boycott the 2019 contest came from Dublin Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha, who said Ireland should boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in order to show solidarity with the “horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people.”

Another such call came from the Palestinian Authority (PA) “culture minister”, who said that holding the Eurovision in Israel “whitewashes the Israeli occupation” and its violations against the Palestinian people.

In addition, a group of more than 100 artists, including former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and British composer Brian Eno, published an open letter in the British Guardian newspaper in which they called for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if it is held in Israel.

So far, several broadcasters have rejected the boycott calls, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Australian public television network SBS.