NUJ Dublin Broadcasting Branch commits to supporting members refusing to cover Eurovision Song Contest in Israel
The Irish Campaign to Boycott the Eurovision in 2019 in Israel welcomes the motion passed by the Dublin Broadcasting Branch of the NUJ on 29th January whereby it states it “will support any member, working in RTÉ or elsewhere, who chooses to exercise a conscientious objection towards involvement in coverage of the song contest.”
The motion was passed by a large majority and represents a recognition that the Eurovision contest in Israel presents serious ethical issues for anyone who cares about human rights. We welcome this support for workers choosing not to participate in coverage of the contest, either in Israel or in Ireland, as we do also with the Director General of RTÉ, Ireland’s National Broadcaster, Dee Forbes’ commitment last year not to sanction any workers whose consciences prevent them from travelling to Israel.
NUJ Dublin Broadcasting Branch Chair, broadcaster, Emma O’Kelly stated:
“The fact that the Eurovision is taking place this year in a country guilty of ongoing serious human rights abuses, including against journalists, means there will be members of ours who feel that for ethical reasons they can’t participate in coverage of the contest. We debated our attitude towards this [last] week and the branch decided by a very strong majority to express our willingness to support any member in that position.
“We were also mindful of the fact that our sister union, The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, is among a number of Palestinian organisations that have appealed to the world to not treat this year’s contest as just ‘any other Eurovision’.”
The Irish Campaign to Boycott the Eurovision in 2019 reiterates our call for RTÉ and any performers not to participate in the song contest in Israel. Further, we ask RTÉ to support the call from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate not to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel’s illegal settlements, including those in occupied East Jerusalem; the least RTÉ should do to be in line with international law and European policy.
We also welcome the Dublin Broadcasting Branch of the NUJ’s condemnation of Israel’s attacks on Palestinian journalists and hope that their colleagues in Ireland will show solidarity with them by refusing to take part in Eurovision in Israel. We further note that more than two hundred Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the Eurovision win last May and it is totally unconscionable to participate in an event that is designed to ‘artwash’ the repression, so often fatal, of the Palestinian people that Israel has engaged in since 1948.
The campaign to boycott the Eurovision in apartheid Israel enjoys widespread support in Ireland with almost 15,000 people signing a petition calling for non participation and also has endorsement from human rights activists, artists and other public figures, among them former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan; Irish broadcaster and former Eurovision commentator Mike Murphy; and former Eurovision presenters Carrie Crowley and Doireann Ni Bhriain. The Musicians’ Union of Ireland (MUI) and Irish Equity, have also endorsed the campaign.
Internationally hundreds of artists have joined the call to boycott the Eurovision in Israel, almost 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on members of the European Broadcasting Union to withdraw from the contest, and on January 29th more than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations from nearly 20 countries across Europe and beyond made a call on global LGBTQIA communities to boycott the competition.
While Israel continues to deny the Palestinian people their rights, people of conscience must continue to refuse to engage with that state and to support the call from Palestinians for solidarity by boycotting Eurovision 2019. To do so is to be on the right side of history.
The full text of the Dublin Broadcasting Branch motion is as follows:
The Dublin Broadcasting Branch condemns Israel’s continued attacks on journalists and on freedom of expression and notes that since last April its forces have shot and killed two journalists reporting from Gaza’s border and injured with live rounds at least 20 more.
The branch welcomes the statement by RTE’s Director General Dee Forbes that RTE will not sanction any staff member who declines to travel to Israel to cover the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest on conscientious grounds.
The branch will support any member, working in RTE or elsewhere, who chooses to exercise a conscientious objection towards involvement in coverage of the song contest.