There is no scarcity of sound reasons leading the great and the good in this country to lend their weight to the campaign for a boycott of next year’s Eurovision Song contest, which is to be hosted by Israel.
Here are some of them: Israel is not, the last time we checked, in Europe.
The contest’s musical standards are, without exception, abysmally low, shaped as they inevitably must be by music that will be as catchy in Athlone as it is Athens and lyrics that will be inane and incomprehensible from Moscow to Madrid; a village céilí is an infinitely superior entertainment.
The voting is political: Greece will not vote for Turkey’s entry, the Slavs and Nordics give their votes on their regional preferences, and thanks to a continent-wide list of historical grievances, the Brits have no chance, even in the unlikely event of their song being half-way passable.
The brigade of “celebrities and public figures” assembled by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign to call for a boycott of next year’s show cite none of these thoroughly legitimate complaints.
Instead, they fear that the show will be exploited to whitewash what they say are Israel’s “seven decades of war crimes and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people”.
This is the standard rhetoric of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is active throughout
the Western world in politics, academia, the arts and entertainment, attracts support in the main from Left-leaning parties and lobby groups, promotes the vilification — with one-sided and insulting cant — of the state of Israel and contributes nothing to the achievement of a lasting two-state solution that guarantees Israel’s security and establishes a successful, neighbouring homeland for Palestinians.
Such boycotts — of the wretched Eurovision Song Contest, of Israeli products, of Israel’s academics and the results of its research in science and medicine — would have no impact one way or the other on the policies of Israel’s government which, lest it be conveniently overlooked, represents the region’s only democracy and whose highest priority is the protection of its citizens from those whose wish is to wipe the country off the map.
Also conveniently overlooked is the opinion of the president of the Palestinian Authority, who thinks that the products of Israeli settlements should be boycotted, but also added: “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel.”
There is in this campaign, endorsed in Ireland by notable gay and feminist activists, the refrain of hypocrisy.
The boycott brigade, marching for human rights and social justice, sees Israel’s defence of itself as a primarily Jewish state as a war crime.
We look forward to reporting its demands for an international boycott of, say, Saudi Arabia or Iran where, when we last looked, gay and feminist activists would not be tolerated.
Can we look forward to calls to cut off all cultural, academic and economic ties with, say, China, with its more than somewhat appalling lack of interest in human rights?
We suspect not.