Israel’s ambassador to Ireland has criticised the proposed boycott of the Israeli Eurovision Song Contest. Ophir Kariv attacked the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and others advocating for a boycott, referring to them as “extremists”.
His comments come as Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that ticket sales for the song contest are lower than expected.
Against the boycott
Kariv, who was recently appointed as ambassador to Ireland, was speaking to the Irish Times when he said that he disagreed with the concept of a boycott. He argued that people should debate things instead of engaging in boycotts, saying:
I don’t think boycotts should be in our tool box. We should have many other means for communication and for expressing our views and for debating.
Instead, he argued that Eurovision is a “cultural event” and people must see it in that light.
The alternative Eurovision
Activists have organised an alternative to the Tel Aviv competition called Globalvision. According to its website, it will offer a “night of inclusion and diversity, celebrating Palestinian music and culture”. And it will include:
music and messages from well-known international and Israeli artists, [and] the broadcast will go live to gigs in Dublin, Haifa, London and Bethlehem.
The IPSC has insisted that “Ireland must play no part in the art-washing of Israeli oppression”, explaining that:
Palestinian artists, journalists and civil society groups have asked international artists of conscience to boycott the 2019 Eurovision due to be staged in Israel, due to Israel’s “regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid” which is “shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official ‘Brand Israel’ strategy”.'
Read more: As Eurovision ticket sales flop, Israeli diplomat hits out at boycott supporters