Irish activists call for Eurovision boycott over Israel participation

Israel's entry is currently under scrutiny from the European Broadcasting Union for containing politically charged lyrics referencing the victims of the Hamas attack on October 7.

This image shows the Eurovision Song Contest logo, a competition which Israel is taking part in. The logo is displayed on a screen, in white lights on a dark blue background.
Image: Review News via Shutterstock

Irish activists are calling for a Eurovision boycott so long as Israel is allowed to participate. According to District Magazine, over 1,000 people have emailed RTÉ urging the organisation to put pressure on the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to expel the Middle Eastern country from the competition.

The free-to-use email template reads, “As a viewer and avid fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, I would like to add my voice to the growing concerns about Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

“I urge you, as our national representative broadcaster at the Eurovision Song Contest, to put pressure on the European Broadcasting Union (‘EBU’) to reconsider Israel’s participation in the contest, and ban them from competing this year.

“While it claims to be a non-political competition of broadcasters, the ban of Russia in 2022 due to their invasion of Ukraine indicates a willingness of the EBU to impose sanctions on a nation’s broadcaster for the actions of their government. Exclusion of the representatives of an oppressive power from international events is an effective tool to express a collective rejection and condemnation of the actions of that State.”

The email continues: “Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest raises legitimate ethical and moral questions, and damages the event’s reputation as a platform for peacefulness, cultural exchange and inclusivity.

“Should the EBU allow the broadcasting representative of Israel to compete this year, and RTÉ take no stance against their participation, I will no longer watch the Eurovision Song Contest…I am sure I will not be alone in this. 

“Not only will this lead to a significant drop in viewership, it stands to reflect poorly on RTÉ and our national legacy for years to come,” it concludes.

In a separate statement, activist Brian Donnely added, “Israel continues to use the Eurovision to normalise and obscure their brutal regime against the Palestinian people, which they have done for decades. By boycotting this year we are sending a message of solidarity and not allowing ourselves to be a cog in Israel’s propaganda machine.” 

Additionally, Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug previously stated they do not think Israel should be allowed to compete, but said “It’s not down to the contestants though, it’s down to the Eurovision itself.”

This campaign comes as Israel continues its devastating war on Palestine, which escalated as a result of the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023. To date, almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza with more than half a million on the brink of famine. Additionally, 90% of the population in the Strip is estimated to have fled.

Israel’s Eurovision entry, ‘October Rain’ by Eden Golan, which is written in both English and Hebrew, is said to reference the victims of Hamas’ attack last year. While the EBU has said it does not plan to expel the country, political statements are banned in the competition, and as a result, the organisation is “currently in the process of scrutinising the lyrics”.

Should the track be rejected, Israel will be allowed to submit a new song or lyrics. However, the country has said it has no intention of replacing the entry, “Meaning, if it is not approved by the European Broadcasting Union, Israel will not be able to participate in the competition,” the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation stated.

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.