Irish boycott of Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

Protests have been taking place to convince Irish state broadcaster RTÉ to withdraw from this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Israel over its attacks against the Palestinian people.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on nominated singer Sarah McTernan to pull out of the competition.

Spokeswoman Zoë Lawlor said: "Ireland has a proud tradition of standing with the oppressed and against injustice and we sincerely hope that Sarah McTernan will take this opportunity to stand on the right side of history by listening to the Palestinian and international calls for a boycott.

"It would be a principled stand for freedom, justice, equality and ashow of solidarity and empathy with the oppressed."

At its monthly meeting this week, Sligo County Council voted to call on RTÉ to boycott this years' competition.

The motion notes that "the Eurovision will be openly used for political and militaristic propaganda purposes" and "to whitewash Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands, its continued building of illegal colonial settlements in violation of international law and its human rights abuses and war crimes."

In recent weeks, a UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that Israel likely committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in its attacks on unarmed protesters in Gaza last year.

Israeli forces killed 183 Palestinians, including 35 children, journalists and paramedics, people who were demonstrating for their legally guaranteed Right of Return to the homes they were ethnically cleansed from in 1948.

It has also been widely accused of using cultural events to "whitewash" actions aimed at the extermination of the Palestinian people.

As part of an international campaign, some 171 artists and celebrities in Sweden, the home of the most famous Eurovision winner Abba, have signed an open letter urging a boycott.

"Just a few days after the Israeli victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2018, Israel's army killed 62 Palestinians who protested against their prison-like imprisonment in Gaza. Six of those murdered were children," they wrote.