Readers' Blog: Eurovision is a cultural, not political, event

It is with great disappointment that I read your editorial of Wednesday, March 13 (“Eurovision role must be reviewed. Participation is an endorsement”), which said that if Prime Minister Netanyahu remains in power after Israel’s election in April then Ireland should boycott the Eurovision in Israel in May.

Your editorial says this in protest over what Prime Minister Netanyahu said several days ago about Israel being the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was merely restating that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, which is a fact; he was not implying that Israel’s large, free Arab Christian and Muslim minority are second-class citizens or that they should be. They, quite rightly, have equality under the law with Jews as Israeli citizens.

Entirely false and inappropriate equations were also made in the editorial between Israel and some other countries and jurisdictions. All eight million of Israel’s citizens, Jewish and Arab, Christian and Muslim, Druze and Circassians, are equal under the law and are treated equally by the State.

They are elected to the Knesset or parliament and make a contribution to Israel’s vibrant and diverse society and culture.

The Eurovision is a cultural event that celebrates music, entertainment, diversity and friendship between nations. Ireland and Israel are two small, successful, multicultural democracies who both have a great record winning the Eurovision. It would be tragic to spoil the festival by a boycott.

Boycotting is a political endeavour, and those who are campaigning for Ireland to boycott the Eurovision are extremists who think that anything involving Israel is ‘political’ because they deny Israel’s legitimacy.

Dr Derek O’Flynn

Press Officer

Ambassador of Israel

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