DCU society calls for Eurovision boycott

Aoibhín Bryant

DCU’s Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) have called for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 that is to be hosted in the country of Israel.

The singing competition is to be held in Tel Aviv after Israel’s nomination, “Toy” by Netta, won in Portugal earlier this year.

“DCU SJP supports the boycott of Eurovision 2019 and we call on others to do the same,” said chair of the society, Stephanie O’Toole.  “Israel regularly and readily uses culture and art to cover up and distract from its regime of apartheid and the televising of this contest will only further whitewash Israeli brutalities.”

“There should be no ‘business as usual’ as Israel continues its occupation and Ireland should answer the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott the competition,” O’Toole continued.

The DCU Eurovision society is not in favour of a boycott but believes that “a clear acknowledgement of the situation should be provided by RTÉ and any other source providing coverage of the competition”, according to a spokesperson for the society.

Earlier this year, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign handed in a petition of 11,000 signatures to RTÉ’s general director, Dee Forbes, calling for the broadcaster to boycott the competition in 2019.

Despite this, RTÉ has begun the selection progress to submit a performer for next year’s contest.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has also ruled out an Irish boycott of next year’s Eurovision after People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett had called for a state boycott.

Derry activist Hayleigh Fleming is in favour of a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Derry is home to Eurovision song contest winner, Dana Scallon and the father of Johnny Logan, another Eurovision victor.

Tensions amongst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have risen in the past number of years. Controversy was sparked earlier this year after the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) shot dead dozens of Palestinian protesters during the celebrations of the “Great March of Return”, marking the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The SJP have also begun a referendum campaign for the DCUSU to adopt a solidarity stance with Palestine. This mandate would affiliate DCUSU with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement which boycotts Israeli goods.

The singing competition amongst members of the European Broadcasting Commission is to be held in Tel Aviv from the 14th to the 18th of May in 2019.

Aoibhín Bryant

Image Credit: Flickr