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RTÉ’s whitewashing of Israeli apartheid ‘unacceptable’ – Carthy

17 May, 2019 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned broadcaster RTÉ for its enthusiastic participation in the Eurovision song contest being held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The Midlands North West MEP said:

“Israeli war crimes and apartheid are nothing to sing about. Palestinian artists and cultural organisations have for several years called for nonviolent pressure to be applied by the international community in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.

“RTÉ has ignored the thousands of Irish citizens and organisations who have petitioned for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision. Local councils in Sligo, Derry City, Strabane District Council and Galway City Council are among those who have adopted motions urging the state broadcaster to boycott this year’s Eurovision.

“The Israeli government is shamelessly exploiting the Eurovision song contest to whitewash its war crimes against the Palestinian people, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even calling last year’s winner Netta Barzilai ‘the best ambassador of Israel’.

“Just two days after Barzilai won last year’s contest, Israel massacred 62 Palestinians in Gaza, including six children. Just two weeks ago, 29 Palestinians were killed during a vicious Israeli military assault, including a baby and two pregnant women.

“In 2015, a UN report accused Israel of committing war crimes during its 2014 assault on Gaza, which killed 2,251 Palestinians including 551 children and 299 women. The people of Gaza have lived under siege for more than a decade in an open-air prison, under constant threat of bombardment, with extremely limited water, electricity, food and medicine.

“If there was ever any doubt that Israel has constructed an apartheid state, it should have been dispelled by last year’s ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’, which constitutionally sanctions institutionalised discrimination. It unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the ‘Jewish people’ despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is a non-Jewish Palestinian.

“The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement as a peaceful means of resisting Israeli apartheid is growing around the world. Stars such as Lorde, Lana Del Ray and Lionel Messi have recently refused to take part in events in Israel.

“The participants, the tourist visitors and the broadcasters of this year's Eurovision are complicit in justifying war crimes and apartheid. That RTÉ has ignored the principled calls for a boycott is disgraceful. I urge all Irish people to tune out and refuse to celebrate this year's Eurovision that is casually dismissing the misery and suffering of the Palestinian people.” 

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