Dublin mayor suggests not sending Irish representative to Israel for Eurovision 2019; two European Parliament lawmakers support boycott

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

On Sunday, Dublin's Lord Mayor Mícheál MacDonncha spoke about not sending Irish representatives to the next year's Eurovision Song Contest, asserting Palestine solidarity. The announcement came just one day after Israeli singer Netta won this year's Eurovision in Portuguese capital Lisbon. Two European Parliament lawmakers from Ireland, Lynn Boylann and Nessa Childers, endorsed boycotting next year's contest.

Speaking to news site Dublin Live, MacDonncha said next year's contest should be boycotted to display solidarity with Palestineans. "I don't think we should send a representative", the mayor said. "I think the horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people needs to be highlighted", MacDonncha said.

After winning this year's contest, 25-year-old Netta, who performed Toy featuring chicken dance, chicken noises, and Japanese cultural references criticized as cultural appropriation, said, "Thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you! I love my country. Next year in Jerusalem!" The country which wins the song contest hosts next year's iteration of Eurovision. Israel claims Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem. Palestine claims East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel-Palestine conflict is on-going for years. Clashes between Israel and Palestine have happened several times. This Monday, more than 50 Palestine civilians were killed in Gaza in a clash against Israeli forces.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a tweet congratulated Netta after her victory and said, "Netta, you are a real dear. You brought a lot of honour to the State of Israel! Next year in Jerusalem!" ((he))Hebrew language: ‍!נטע, את כפרה אמיתית. הבאת הרבה כבוד למדינת ישראל! לשנה הבאה ב Israel came to control East Jerusalem as a part of the 1967 Arab-Israel War. Legal sovereignty of Israel's claim of the entire city is not globally acknowledged. Until this Monday, no country in the world had its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem; On Monday, Israel's ally the United States shifted its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

MacDonncha, speaking to Dublin Live, said, "The Irish-Palestinean solidarity campaign has collected names of 500 artists who have said they would not work in the State of Israel, that they would boycott in the protest and the treatment of Palestinean people". At the time of the contest, Ireland regional lawmaker Órla Nic Biorna tweeted, "Shocked at the support for Israel tonight in the Eurovision. People seem to forget that they [Israel] are a Zionist state illegally occupying Palestine".

Regarding hosting the contest in Jerusalem, European Parliament lawmaker Nessa Childers wrote on Twitter, "Jerusalem? The mind boggles. I thought Tel Aviv." Lynn Boylan of the Sinn Féin party tweeted saying, "Israel wins Eurovision so let's make BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] more successful than ever in 2019." Lawmaker Emmett O'Brien replied to Boylan saying "So much pathetic hate against Israel" and later added, "How many times has Palestine been offered peace? Will you condemn the barbarity of Hamas?"

MacDonncha is banned from entering Israel. Last month, the Israeli Interior ministry tried to bar MacDonncha's entry to Israel. The mayor was invited by the Palestinian Authority for a conference. However, reportedly the misspelt name of MacDonncha failed to bar him from arriving at Israeli capital Tel Aviv from which he went to Ramallah for the conference. Earlier, the Dublin city council passed a resolution to endorse and support the Palestine-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. The resolution read, "Since its violent establishment in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of more than half of the indigenous people of Palestine, the state of Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law [...] this City Council fully supports and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for freedom, equality, and justice."

Dublin's mayor wasn't the only one to promote a boycott. Swedish political party Vänsterpartiet Malmö released a statement boycotting the next year's Eurovision saying, "We in the Left Party of Malmö think it is vital to do everything to condemn the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. We therefore urge the Eurovision Song Contest to boycott Israel. It is altogether unreasonable for Israel to host this gigantic music contest while the occupation goes on. We want Israel to be excluded from Eurovision on humanitarian grounds. We can not continue dancing while the persecution of the Palestinian people continues. Boycott Israel now!" ((sv))Swedish language: ‍Vi i Vänsterpartiet Malmö menar att det är av största vikt att göra allt för att fördöma de brott som Israel begår mot det palestinska folket. Vi uppmanar därför Eurovision Song Contest att bojkotta Israel. Det är fullständigt orimligt att Israel får arrangera denna gigantiska musiktävling samtidigt som ockupationen pågår. Vi vill att Israel utesluts från Eurovision på humanitära grunder. Vi kan inte fortsätta dansa samtidigt som övergreppen mot det palestinska folket fortsätter. Bojkotta Israel nu!