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Calls for RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel next year

Sinn Féin has called on the national broadcaster and the Irish government to boycott Israel which won the song contest this year.

Netta of Israel poses with the Trophy after winning the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
Netta of Israel poses with the Trophy after winning the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

SINN FÉIN’S PEARSE Doherty has said he expects his party to pass a motion this weekend calling on RTÉ and the Irish government to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

The popular song contest is due to be held in Israel in 2019 after the country’s entry, Toy by Netta, won the competition with a total of 529 points.

The motion put forward by the Tralee cumann states that in light of “Israel’s ongoing and grievous violations of international law and international humanitarian law” and the “apartheid policies being applied to the Palestinian people” it is asking members to support the motion.

‘Taking a stand’

Doherty told TheJournal.ie that he expects the motion to be passed at the party’s Ard Fheis in Belfast this weekend.

The delegates of Sinn Féin are very clear – there is a role for the arts, music and indeed sport, in sending a very strong message internationally. As it happens, Israel is hosting the Eurovision and just like the Olympic Games in Germany or the Rugby World Cup during the apartheid era, there is a time to stand on the right side of history here.
This is an opportune moment to shine the spotlight on the slaughter of the Palestinian people. While the government are refusing to expel the Israeli ambassador, there is an opportunity for others to take a stand so I think this campaign will gain momentum.

Last month 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops during protests along the Gaza border against the US embassy opening in Jerusalem.

At the time, Coveney summoned the Israeli ambassador to a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs to express Ireland’s “shock and dismay” at the level of death and injury on the Gaza Strip. He called for restraint from Israel. Last week, Coveney said he had a “frank” discussion with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issues.

However, many in the opposition believe the Irish government are not going far enough in calling out Israel on their actions.

MIDEAST-GAZA-PROTEST Israeli security forces fire tear gas toward Palestinian protesters along the barrier between Gaza earlier this month. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The Donegal TD said he did not want this to be solely a Sinn Féin campaign, stating that it is a lot wider than that. He encouraged other parties to support their calls for a boycott.

“We have a history and we understand more than most what is happening in Palestine. We know in our own history where innocent protesters have been gunned down on the streets of Derry and elsewhere, so there is an affinity there. I think that this has the potential to grow,” said Doherty, who added he did not foresee any resistance to the motion which is being put to a vote this weekend.

“I think it would be a positive development and it would be something I welcome. I call on other parties to make similar calls,” he said.

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