The hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 has been one of the most contentious in recent memory — and the contest is still nearly a year away. Immediately after Israel won in Lisbon, calls for boycotts and the removal of Israel’s right to host began spreading. And now that Israel has been confirmed as host country, the controversy is sure to not slow down anytime soon.
One of the countries where the calls to boycott Israel have been loudest is Ireland.
And on Wednesday, a small yet high-profile group of protesters took to Dublin’s iconic Ha’penny Bridge to launch the “Irish Call to Boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel”. Among the number was Carrie Crowley, a TV presenter turned actress who co-hosted Eurovision 1997 alongside popstar Ronan Keating.
Speaking to The Irish Independent, Crowley explained her reasons for joining the boycott campaign.
“There’s a resonance with the situation in Palestine for Irish people because in our past we were disenfranchised and taken over by a superior power.
We understand what it’s like to be evicted from homes, to lose our land and properties and feel like we’ve no entitlements anymore.
Our relationship with Great Britain has improved so much and I would love to think Palestine and Israel could look to the future and maybe do something similar.
I want to raise awareness of this as there’s so many people who love Eurovision and we could draw their attention to it.”
Organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), PalFest Ireland and Trade Union Friends of Palestine (TUFP), a petition linked to the movement has already attracted over 3,600 signatures. Many of the names come from the world of the arts, including Eurovision 1994 winner Charlie McGettigan.
He previously called for a boycott in the aftermath of the Gaza killings in May. However, Eurovision 1992 winner Linda Martin disagrees, arguing that Ireland should never withdraw from such an important global event.
Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs is also against a boycott. He said that boycotting the contest would “polarise things even further” and not advance the Palestinian cause.
In response to the boycott campaign, the Embassy of Israel in Ireland released a statement saying they were “saddened”.
“Boycotts merely encourage division and do nothing to further the cause of peace. The Eurovision is a cultural event and should not become politicised by extreme voices seeking to boycott Israel. Israel has a long and proud history of participation in the Eurovision.
Over the years, the Israeli contestants have showcased the diversity and openness of Israeli society. Indeed, in 1998 the Israeli winner – Dana International – brought the issue of trans-identity into the mainstream. We look forward to welcoming the international community to enjoy the Eurovision in Israel next year. We are sure that a small minority of individuals, who are seeking yet another vehicle to demonise Israel, will not disrupt what is sure to be a magnificent event.”
Ultimately, the decision rests with the national broadcaster RTE, who have competed every year since 2002. The last two occasions when Israel hosted the contest, in Jerusalem in 1979 and 1999, Ireland placed 5th and 17th. An official confirmation will need to be made before anyone can be sure whether Ireland will participate next year.
So what do you think? Do you think Ireland should boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel? Would you like to see Ireland participate next year? Let us know below.
Follow all of our Ireland Eurovision 2019 news.
Comments on this post are now closed.