Derry activist calls for Eurovision boycott over Israel's treatment of Palestinians

Derry Eurovision winners Phil Coulter, Dana and Johnny Logan.
Derry Eurovision winners Phil Coulter, Dana and Johnny Logan.

Dana and Phil Coulter both won it while Derry tenor Patrick O'Hagan's son Johnny Logan won it twice but Rosemount Sinn Féin activist, Hayleigh Fleming, has called for a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

Ms. Fleming, who will contest next year's local elections in the Foyleside District Electoral area (DEA), has supported calls for Ireland to boycott the 2019 Eurovision due to its taking place in Tel Aviv in Israel.

Calls for a boycott have been growing over the Israeli state's mistreatment of Palestinian protestors. dozens of whom were shot dead by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during the 'Great March of Return' to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war in the spring.

Ms. Fleming said: “In recent years, increasing numbers of major sporting, cultural and music figures have joined calls from the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, not to perform in Israel.

“The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which is world renowned, is set to take place in Israel. As someone who has a great love of the competition, I am disappointed.

“The Eurovision Song Contest should not be used as a tool for Israel to whitewash its daily human rights abuse, breaches of International Law through illegal settlement building and the murder of Palestinians in Gaza, which they have turned into an open air prison."

The call for the boycott would affect the 2019 edition only.

Derry, of course, has a long-standing and illustrious association with the competition with Phil Coulter having penned Sandie Shaw's competition-winning hit 'Puppet on a String' as far back as 1967, before Dana won the 1970 Eurovision with 'All Kinds of Everything.'

Then in 1980 and 1987, Johnny Logan, who was the son of Derry-born Charles Alphonsus Sherrard, the tenor who performed by the stage name Patrick O'Hagan, won the contest with 'What's Another Year' and 'Hold me Now' respectively.