High profile LGBT+ activists from Ireland have urged their country’s Eurovision entrant Sarah McTernan to boycott the contest in an open letter.

They are calling on McTernan to back out of performing in Tel Aviv as a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The letter—which was signed by activists such as David Norris and Ailbhe Smyth—was published yesterday in Gay Community News (GCN) and begins by congratulating McTernan for being selected as Ireland’s representative at the competition.

Irish LGBT+ activists have urged Sarah McTernan to pull out of Eurovision over Israeli ‘pinkwashing’

“We feel we must write to you to express our deep concern at the political use of the Eurovision that is being made by Israel this year, and to highlight in particular the issue of ‘Pinkwashing,'” the letter reads.

The letter says that ‘pinkwashing’ is a “PR tactic used by Israel which cynically exploits support for LGBTQIA people to whitewash its oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The open letter argues that Israel is attempting to ingratiate itself with LGBT+ people in an attempt to distract from its “colonial and apartheid reality.”

“Israeli pinkwashing aims to isolate queer from other identities and make its record on gay rights trump its continued occupation and brutalization of the Palestinian people.”

– Open letter from Irish LGBT+ activists

“Pinkwashing is meant to cover up these violations with a facade of progressiveness and equality. In short, Israeli pinkwashing aims to isolate queer from other identities and make its record on gay rights trump its continued occupation and brutalization of the Palestinian people.

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“While Israel’s record on LGBTQIA rights is far from being all roses, it is deeply sinister when it comes to Palestinians.

“Those who truly care about the struggles of LGBTQIA Palestinians for their own sexual and national liberation should be supporting indigenous queer organisation like Alqaws, Aswatt, Pinkwatching Israel and others.”

LGBT activists urge Ireland’s Eurovision entrant to boycott contest
Sarah McTernan, Ireland’s Eurovision entrant (Lili Forberg/RTÉ (Courtesy of Eurovision)

Various groups have called on Madonna to cancel her Eurovision performance

The letter comes after months of pressure on performers and viewers to boycott this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

In January, more than 100 LGBT+ organisations from across Europe urged people to boycott the event due to Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

Last week, Madonna caused a furore when it was revealed that she has been signed up to perform at the final of the competition in Tel Aviv for a fee of $1 million.

She has been urged to cancel her performance by a number of groups, including the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Alia Malak of the PACBI told PinkNews last week that “thousands of artists” now refuse to perform in Israel.

“Madonna’s announcement that she will cross Palestinians’ long-established picket line comes at a time when fewer and fewer major international artists are willing to perform to an effectively segregated audience under apartheid.”

She continued: “We hope Madonna stands on the right side of history by refusing to let her music and image be exploited by a regime that desperately craves the whitewash Eurovision is offering.”

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