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Wednesday 18 September 2019

LGBT campaigners accused of 'bullying' Eurovision singer

Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Irish entry: Sarah McTernan. PIC: Lili Forberg
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Irish entry: Sarah McTernan. PIC: Lili Forberg
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The Ireland Israel Alliance (IIA) has accused LGBT campaigners of bullying Irish singer Sarah McTernan by calling on her to boycott this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Earlier this week, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign wrote an open letter claiming Israel is supporting the LGBT community for the purpose of "whitewashing" its oppression of the Palestinian people. Its 19 signatories, who are LGBT campaigners, included activists such as Senator David Norris.

In response, the IIA wrote an open letter of their own, saying it is saddened by the "bullying Sarah McTernan continues to receive".

"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," the letter read.

"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."

The letter goes on to claim the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is ignoring that the Eurovision is an internal cultural event that celebrates diversity and equality".

"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."

Spokesperson for the campaign to boycott the Eurovision, Zoe Lawlor, denied they are bullying Ms McTernan.

"All we are doing is asking Sarah to be aware of the situation in Gaza and the atrocities happening to the Palestinian people on a daily basis," she said.

"It's totally up to her how she's going to respond, but sending an open letter definitely doesn't constitute as bullying.

"We congratulate how far this young singer has got, and it seems like she has a very promising career ahead of her."

Attempts were made to contact Ms McTernan for a response.

Irish Independent

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