Israel: even when it does right, it's wrong
The signatories of this letter seek to address an open letter sent to Eurovision’s Irish entrant Sarah McTernan. The letter, which was signed by signatories such as David Norris and Ailbhe Smith, who state they are human rights campaigners in relation to LGBTQIA issues, ask Sarah not to aid in Israel’s “pinkwashing” tactics.
We are saddened by the bullying Sarah McTernan continues to receive – this time by “human rights campaigners who have long been involved in LGBTQIA activism in Ireland” – since her announcement as Ireland’s Eurovision entrant, to be held in Israel in May. We believe that in publicly targeting Sarah, and in attempting to pressurise her into not participating, the letters’ signatories have devalued the battle fought by the gay community, and others in Israel, for recognition of their rights and for respect for difference, not to mention the progress made so far and battles which remain to be fought.
Instead of celebrating Tel Aviv’s annual Pride Parade and acknowledging that it and the annual Pride Parade held in Jerusalem are the only annual Pride events in the entirety of the Middle East, the signatories felt compelled to enter an alternative reality and condemn the Tel Aviv Parade and the Israeli government’s support of it as “ pinkwashing”. Instead of celebrating the courage of those who fought against prejudice and violence to ensure an annual Pride Event in Jerusalem, the signatories chose to also ignore it.
It is difficult to believe the campaign against Eurovision in Israel is all about the rights of Palestinians and the achievement of peaceful co-existence when its co-founder Omar Barghouti is on record stating: “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine”. We believe that not only does the BDS Movement exemplify the attempt by the Palestinian leadership to destroy the peace process and associated joint initiatives, it simultaneously hurts the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of ordinary Palestinians.
This campaign entirely ignores that Eurovision is an international cultural event that celebrates diversity and equality. It also ignores the fact that the song contest is being held this year in Israel because of votes casts by millions of viewers, which resulted in Netta Barzilai winning last year’s contest.
The letters’ signatories might better occupy their time by focusing on the discrimination, oppression and brutality suffered by LGBTQIA persons throughout the Middle East. Perhaps they might apply their political activism to facilitate the holding of the first ever Palestinian Pride Parade in Ramallah or Gaza, and to end Palestinian oppression of gay Palestinians. We would be very interested to see how they fare!
Meanwhile, they really should stop bullying a young, talented Irish singer and attempting to make her a target for the type of public shaming and derision that so many gay people wrongly suffered in Ireland in past decades, and some still suffer today.
Jackie Goodall, Director of Ireland Israel Alliance
Alan Shatter, former Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence
Keith Faye, Musician and founding member of Irish Folk Metal Band “Cruachan”
Dr. Mark Humphrys, Assistant Professor, Dublin City University
Rory Cowan, Actor and Comedian of “Mrs Brown’s Boys” fame
Dermot Meleady, Historian
Daniel O’Dowd, CAMERA Fellow, President of Maynooth Students for Israel & Editor of the Conservative Dissent
Teresa Trainor, Co-Founder of Alumni for Campus Freedom Ireland
Sahara Nankan, PHD Scholar Human Rights Law, NUIG
Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh, Writer/Blogger