Ireland’s national broadcaster “will not be sanctioning any staff members who refuse to travel to Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019”, according to reports by TheJournal.ie.
The development comes after RTÉ’s Director General Dee Forbes met with representatives of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), who has called for a boycott of next year’s content in line with the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
IPSC has called on Ireland to shun the event “due to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people”. The report noted that more than 11,000 people have signed a petition urging RTÉ not to send an Irish representative to Tel Aviv next year.
“Campaigners for the boycott include Irish and international public figures, musicians and artists, including Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Wolf Alice, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Charlie McGettigan, Mike Murphy, Carrie Crowley, Paul Brady and Doireann Ní Bhriain”.
According to IPSC, RTÉ representatives stated that they “will take away all that has been said [during the meeting] and think about it”.
The broadcaster added that there “will not be any sanction against anyone from within RTÉ who doesn’t wish travel on conscientious grounds”.
RTÉ staff also told IPSC activists that they are “well aware that the Irish people are very concerned about and supportive of Palestinians” and that they “will not just be covering it as an entertainment event, and bearing in mind everything that has been discussed [they] will be covering it more widely”.
A spokesperson for RTÉ confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the quotes attributed to staff are accurate.
IPSC Vice Chair John Dorman called on RTÉ to boycott the event entirely in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
“RTÉ may argue that the Eurovision is a cultural event that should not be politicised but that is exactly what Israel is doing, shamelessly using the Eurovision as part of their Brand Israel strategy.”
Israel is determined to put forward a pretty face to hide its ugly regime of settler colonialism, apartheid and brutal military occupation.
“RTÉ representing Ireland, the first country to say no to Apartheid South African 40 years ago, should now listen to the Irish people by taking a stand and saying No to Apartheid Israel by withdrawing from the Eurovision.”