The Irish-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) launched a campaign this morning to boycott Eurovision 2019, which will be hosted by Israel. The campaign has the support of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in Trinity.
Participants gathered near the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin to launch the Irish call to Boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel. The campaign believes that hosting the Eurovision next year will allow Israel to “culturally whitewash” its “human rights abuses against the Palestinian people”, according to a statement from the IPSC.
Speaking to Trinity News, SJP member Sean Egan explained the student group fully supports the boycott. Egan outlined that due to Israel’s actions against Palestine, including “gunning down peaceful protesters”, it would “be unconscionable to allow them to use an event like the Eurovision to whitewash their image”.
“I’m heartened by how many Irish artists already respect the boycott and SJP will be part of any campaign in order to spread a message of solidarity and artistic integrity,” continued Egan.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a pro-Palestinian student activism organisation. SJP is aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which campaigns for various forms of boycott against Israel. Earlier this year, Trinity students voted for Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) to support BDS and work towards its implementation in Trinity.
The IPSC campaign emerged after calls from Palestinian artists, journalists, and civil society groups to boycott Eurovision 2019. Over 3,500 people have signed the IPSC’s boycott petition in the last two weeks.
Former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan, who won the competition for Ireland in 1994, has expressed his support for the campaign alongside Irish broadcaster and former Eurovision commentator Mike Murphy and former Eurovision presenters Carrie Crowley and Doireann Ní Bhriain.
Irish actor and former Eurovision presenter Carrie Crowley explained: “For all sorts of cultural and historic reasons we identify deeply with the Palestinians. Their treatment – or mistreatment – at the hands of the State of Israel is horrendous.”
“If by boycotting a significant global television event we can draw attention to this injustice, it might help start changing the attitude and the damage being done on a daily basis. I believe many Irish people feel the same way,” Crowley continued.
Irish artists and politicians have also endorsed the campaign, including Irish Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and co-director of Together for Yes Ailbhe Smyth. Trinity Senators David Norris and Ivana Bacik also support the campaign.
Earlier this week, Tánaiste Simon Coveney stated his belief that boycotting Eurovision 2019 would not advance the Palestinian cause and would instead “polarise things even further.” He dismissed the idea that Ireland should boycott next year’s contest on those grounds.
Campaigns to boycott Eurovision 2019 have also emerged in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Iceland. In Iceland, a petition amassing 23,000 signatures called on the Icelandic national broadcaster to boycott the contest next year.
The Eurovision Song Contest will be hosted by Israel in 2019 following their win last month in Portugal. Winner Netta Barzilai scored 529 points with her song “Toy”, which was performed in English. Israel has won the competition previously in 1978, 1979, and 1998.