Irish artists urge Eurovision entrant boycott over Israel

DUBLIN, Ireland – Hundreds of Irish artists are urging Ireland’s Eurovision entrant to be on the “right side of history” by boycotting the song contest over Israel’s participation in the event in Sweden next month.

“We are asking you to withdraw from Eurovision 2024, to heed the call from Palestinians to boycott the competition due to the participation of Israel,” says a letter signed by more than 400 Irish artists.

The letter points to Irish artists and musicians like Irish-language rap group Kneecap, who pulled out of the SXSW Music Festival in the United States last month in protest over the US military’s sponsorship of the event.

“You have the chance to be on the right side of history and to be remembered as an artist of conscience, who, in a time of genocide, chose to do no harm, to truly stand with the oppressed,” the letter adds.

Normally associated with rhinestones and kitsch, this year’s Eurovision has become a more controversial affair as the war in Gaza enters its seventh month, with critics calling for Israel to be banned from competing by the organizers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) together with Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT.

“I stand with anyone doing the boycott. I think if I wasn’t in the competition, I would also be boycotting,” Ireland’s entrant Bambie Thug told an chatshow on Friday.

“At the end of the day, without the group of us who is pro-Palestine, it is less competition for the other side (Israel) to win and it’s less of solidarity there,” said the 31-year-old who hails from Cork.

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