Stephen Rea joins Irish campaign for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in Israel

Stephen Rea has joined a campaign calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

ACTOR Stephen Rea has added his name to campaign calling for a boycott of next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

A group of Irish artists and politicians last year said the event should be avoided in response to the humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

They included Senator David Norris, Riverdance set designer Robert Ballagh, singer Mary Black and Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan.

The contest is scheduled to take place in Israel in 2019, following its victory this year with the song Toy, performed by Netta.

The campaign said it had secured the support of a further 20 public figures including Stephen Rea, the Irish News cartoonist Ian Knox and musical artists Mary Coughlan and Luka Bloom.

A petition with more than 11,000 signatures calling for a boycott has been handed to RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes.

Zoe Lawlor from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: "You would think any musician would be happy to be in such stellar company, on the right side of history, especially when the alternative is to ignore the heartfelt appeal from an oppressed people. Indeed, not only would performing in the Eurovision in Israel be a betrayal of the Palestinian people, but has the potential to be very damaging to an artist's career.

"In the same way that playing in apartheid South Africa is viewed as shameful, no-one wants to be remembered for crossing the Palestinian picket line."

Israel's Netta won Eurovision this year with her track Toy

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