On 23 September, the EBU confirmed that Eurovision 2019 will be held in Tel Aviv. The announcement brought to an end months of speculation which began the moment Netta lifted the famous glass microphone for Israel in May.
However, it appears that the news has yet to reach the Irish Labour Party. On Saturday evening, Ireland’s fourth largest political party — as of the last general election — called upon RTÉ to boycott the upcoming song contest should it be held in Jerusalem.
Tabled by Labour Youth, the motion was passed during the party’s annual conference in Dublin. It read:
“[Labour] calls on RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 if Israel proceeds with its proposals to host Eurovision in Jerusalem. This boycott must stay in place till a peace deal is agreed between Palestine and Israel.”
According to thejournal.ie, the motion was placed on the conference agenda before the EBU’s announcement in September. However, a party spokesperson could not confirm why the motion was not subsequently amended.
On a related matter, conference attendees also passed a motion calling on the Irish government to implement a cultural boycott of Israel with immediate effect.
Eurovision 2019 Boycott calls
Today’s motion is just the latest call for for Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision in Israel. Sinn Féin, another opposition party, debated a similar motion at its party conference.
Meanwhile, a number of figures from the arts signed a petition seeking a boycott. They included Eurovision 1994 winner Charlie McGettigan and 1997 host Carrie Crowley.
However, Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that boycotting the contest would “polarise things even further” and not advance the Palestinian cause.
The Israeli Embassy to Ireland also issued a statement in response:
“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.”
Despite the furore as to whether Ireland should boycott Israel or not, the country’s national broadcaster RTÉ has confirmed participation for 2019.
After a four year absence, Ireland returned to the Eurovision grand final with Ryan O’Shaughnessy in Lisbon. And on 4 October, RTÉ made it clear it wants to keep the momentum going by revealing that it’s looking for “accomplished songwriters and performers, with a proven track record of success in the music industry” to submit a song to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. The submission window is open until 23 November.
Nonetheless, the broadcaster has confirmed that it will not sanction any employee who refuses to travel to Israel.
Follow all of our Ireland Eurovision 2019 news.
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