Ireland Officially Competing In Eurovision Despite Calls For Boycott

A number of campaigners called for a boycott of Ireland's participation in next year's Eurovision in Israel, but this morning saw the confirmation of Ireland's official entry.

Image of Netta and the Israeli flag at last year's Eurovision. There have been calls to boycott this year's competition.

This morning saw the confirmation of Ireland’s entry into next year’s Eurovision, despite calls to boycott the competition which will be held in Israel.

Ireland is one of 42 countries confirmed to enter the song contest. Of the countries that competed last year, Bulgaria is the only country that will not participate again due to financial reasons. There has been no indication of an official boycott from any individual country.

Israel secured hosting rights earlier this year as the country’s entry Netta was victorious with her song ‘Toy’. Eurovision 2019 will be held in Tel Aviv next May.

Speaking on the confirmation of the 42 competing countires, Jon Ola Sand, the song contest’s executive producer said:

“We are thrilled that 42 countries will be represented in Tel Aviv and hope the participating broadcasters are inspired to have the same dream. The team at KAN is busy preparing to welcome the participants – and the world! – to Tel Aviv and will be putting on a show to remember.”

Earlier this year, a number of prominent figures called for Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision due to Israel’s treatment of Palestine. David Norris, Ailbhe Smyth and Kieran Rose backed the boycott campaign which was organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, PalFest Ireland and Trade Union Friends of Palestine.

Hugh Lane

At the launch of the campaign, Riverdance’s set designer Robert Ballagh spoke about the need to protest:

“When Nelson Mandela visited Dublin soon after his release from prison in Robben Island, I asked him what role the international boycott of South Africa played in the ending of apartheid there.

“Mandela told me that ‘the boycott was one of the most important weapons in the struggle against apartheid’. As it was then, so it remains today. This is why I fully support this call for an Irish boycott of the Eurovision 2019 in Israel. We must show the same solidarity to Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid as we did to black people under South African apartheid.”

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