Should Ireland participate in Eurovision 2019?‘Boycott the darn thing. I don’t think we should be seen in Israel.’

As heard on liveline

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Former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan and broadcaster Mick Murphy joined a discussion on today’s Liveline programme about Ireland’s participation in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Tel Aviv. Both men are calling for a boycott.

Charlie thinks that Eurovision organisers should “make a statement” and try to locate the event in a different country.

“They should have it somewhere else…I think they need to make a decision but if they don’t, I think we need to make the decision not to go.

He described as “dreadful” the contrasting footage that emerged yesterday, of President Donald Trump opening the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem while dozens of Palestinian protestors died in Gaza.

“It’s a chance for the whole of Europe who are involved in Eurovision to make a statement and sort of say, ‘Look, we don’t agree with this’. You know, to celebrate while other people are dying. It was like Nero in Rome, [he] fiddled while Rome burned.

Broadcaster and journalist Mike Murphy visited Israel and Palestine a number of months ago. He also supports the idea of a boycott.

“This is where I think we in Ireland need to stand up and be counted and say, ‘We’re not competing in the Eurovision in Tel Aviv’.”

Mike described what he called the “ritual humiliation” of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and evoked the biblical fable of David and Goliath in relation to how the two sides are matched.

“I was simply appalled by the treatment being meted out by the Israelis to the Palestinians. Now, I was utterly appalled.”

Mike dismissed suggestions by a caller that he had been shown around by a biased guide during his trip. He cited his experience as a journalist, saying that he has “too much experience of the media to be prejudiced or to be influenced by anybody else’s viewpoint” and that he only reported what he saw.

“I think we should be recognising Palestine fully. I think we should be standing up. We were taken over by a colonial power for hundreds of years and we were able to shake it off eventually but our people went through very, very bad times under the rule of the British and I think we’re seeing now a similar situation except – I think, frankly – much more ugliness.

Listen back to the full discussion on Liveline here.

© The Listener 2018

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