Dublin mayor urges Eurovision boycott as Israel commits another massacre

Palestinians evacuate a wounded protester near al-Bureij refugee camp, as Israeli forces massacred dozens of people taking part in Great March of Return rallies on 14 May.

Mahmoud Khattab The Electronic Intifada
The lord mayor of Dublin has called for Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision song contest in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“The horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people needs to be highlighted,” Mícheál Mac Donncha stated. “There needs to be solidarity just as there was with the people of South Africa with the apartheid regime.”

Israel won the right to host the high-profile annual competition after Netta Barzilai won this year’s event on Saturday.

The Palestinian ordeal was on shocking display Monday as Israeli snipers once again opened fire on civilians massed along the boundaries of the besieged Gaza Strip for what has been billed as the climax of the Great March of Return.

By afternoon in Gaza, the health ministry reported that the rapidly rising death toll had exceeded 40 Palestinians. Hundreds had been injured with live ammunition and tear gas.

This makes Monday the bloodiest single day since the rallies began on 30 March calling for an end to Israel’s lethal siege of Gaza and the right of refugees – two-thirds of Gaza’s two million residents – to return to homes from which they were expelled and barred from returning by Israel because they are not Jewish.

In previous weeks, Israel had killed a total of more than 50 Palestinians and injured thousands more as part of a deliberate shoot-to-kill-and-maim policy that the International Criminal Court prosecutor has warned could lead to war crimes trials for Israeli leaders.

Monday’s rallies were timed to mark the annual commemoration of the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

“The ongoing Nakba is why I participate in the Great Return March and support the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement,” Abdulrahman Abunahel, an organizer with the Palestinian BDS National Committee in Gaza explained. “I simply want the right to live in the land where I am from, in freedom, in peace and with dignity. I was born a refugee, I do not want to die as one.”

The massacre in Gaza also coincided with the planned ceremony to open the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Dublin mayor Mac Donncha’s calls on Ireland to boycott Eurovision came a day after he opened the Palestinian Freedom Conference, organized by Palestine solidarity groups in Ireland.

At the conference, attended by hundreds, Mac Donncha reiterated his and Dublin City Council’s full support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

Last month Israel announced that it had banned Mac Donncha from entering any territory it controls, but the mayor got into the occupied West Bank anyway as Israeli authorities had misspelled his name on the banning order.

Mac Donncha criticized the Irish government for failing to take any action to hold Israel accountable, contrasting this with the alacrity with which it expelled a Russian diplomat over British claims Russia had been involved in the poisoning of a former double agent.

Mac Donncha told the conference that he soon looked forward to visiting a free and liberated Palestine.

Propaganda coup

At least two other elected officials have also called for a boycott of Eurovision.

“Israel wins Eurovision so let’s make BDS more successful than ever in 2019,” Lynn Boylan, a member of the European Parliament and a colleague of Mac Donnacha in the Sinn Féin party tweeted.

Nessa Childers, an independent MEP, retweeted and agreed with that call.

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu view the victory of Barzilai’s heavily promoted entry in this year’s Eurovision as a major coup for their international propaganda.

The European Union was also quick to celebrate the propaganda win for Israel.

Embassy move

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem the Israeli government has been preparing for another PR extravaganza, with the official opening of the US embassy – overwhelmingly opposed by world opinion.

But Donald Trump has insisted on making the move, apparently to satisfy the demands of Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire and financier of anti-Palestinian causes who was the US president’s biggest campaign donor.

Adelson recently announced another $30 million to help Trump’s Republican Party hold onto the US House in November’s legislative elections.

But the embassy move is also a cause close to the hearts of Christian Zionist fundamentalists who are hostile to Jews, but see support for Israel as a way to hasten what they hope will be the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world.

This uncomfortable reality was highlighted by the Trump administration’s choice of Christian extremist pastor Robert Jeffress to lead a prayer at the embassy ceremony.

The anti-Semitic Jeffress has previously preached that Jews and Mormons will be eternally damned and that Islam is “a heresy from the pit of hell.”

This prompted condemnation from even such right-wing figures as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In another measure of the extremism surrounding the event, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, received a blessing on their arrival in Jerusalem from Israeli chief rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

Earlier this year Yosef, whose salary is paid by the government, called Black people “monkeys.”

Resisting ethnic cleansing

Palestinians, meanwhile, are urging that the US embassy move be seen as an opportunity to increase international solidarity with their struggle.

“The Trump administration’s decision to open the US embassy in Jerusalem as Palestinians commemorate 70 painful years of displacement signals that it’s giving Israel freer reign than ever to try to push us out of our homeland,” Omar Barghouti, a founder of the BDS movement, said. “The Trump-Netanyahu far-right alliance is wreaking havoc in Palestine and, by extension, the world.”

Noting Israel’s decades long practice of demolishing Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and forcing Palestinians out of the city, Barghouti added that “the Trump administration is now not just an enabler, but also a full partner in Israel’s accelerating ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem and beyond.”

“This growing international alliance of progressive communities working to defeat the hateful agenda of the far-right is what gives me hope that we can, and shall, eventually end the ongoing Nakba, end the ongoing destruction of Palestinian life and create a better world for all.”

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While Israelis have murdered 55 Palestinians today, and Illegitimate Israel's Prime Murderer defended the actions of the IDF (Haganah) in murdering those 55 peacefully demonstrating Palestinians, as the Prime Murderer himself, claimed self defense.
That is, essentially, the crux of Zionist ideology, the proclaiming of persecution and innocence even while committing cold blooded murder. Zionism has conflated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and conflated religion with ethnicity.
Jewish Zionists, through Zionist ideology, see themselves as superior religiously, ethnically, and racially to everyone in the world, justifying anything and all that they do because of their so-called superiority.
Zionism is the greatest threat to democracy and peace in the Western world!
Mr. Abunimah, I do hope you will print what I have written, because it is, fundamentally, the truth. But, since it is too strong, I'm not sure if the Electronic Intifada will.

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"Zionism:The Real Enemy of the Jews" by Alan Hart spells it out very well ,if you have not read this book.

The definition of chutzpah is one of those Yiddish words that has no equivalent in other languages. It is defined as “the quality of a man who, having killed his mother and father, asks the judge for mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan.”

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The Palestinian Freedom Conference in Dublin was a great success, bringing together activists and ordinary citizens from around the country and the world. It's no wonder that little Ireland is regarded by Israel with such enmity, given the broad and deep support attaching to the cause of Palestine among the Irish people. Attendees came away invigorated and committed anew to giving their best efforts on behalf of justice for Palestinians. Israel's answer to these expressions of international solidarity remains the vicious resort to colonial violence, as evidenced by this latest appalling massacre. It's up to us to raise the pressure on our own governments, compelling them to hold Israel accountable for its hundred year crime wave. The BDS campaign is growing in strength. It deserves our support. Specifically, the issue of sanctions against Israel must be raised in diverse forums. The time has not yet arrived when such measures can be applied. But putting the matter squarely in the arena of public discourse is a necessary prelude to institutional action. The boycott and divestment elements of the campaign are having a noticeable impact. That effect will be greatly amplified once sanctions are on the table. In every conversation, every letter to the editor, every public meeting and every campus event, sanctioning Israel should be discussed until the subject no longer seems quixotic or worse, but entirely normal. The Israelis are proud of their ability to create "facts on the ground". We need to create facts in the air, in broadcasts, in the streets, in the sound of struggle and commitment. Israel builds walls of domination. Let's build walls of liberation. Comprehensive sanctions encircling the Zionist state will bring apartheid to its knees.

Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.