Reaction to Eurovision boycott call
Sir, – I usually find Mark Paul a precise and interesting writer. However, his language in his Opinion piece is unusually slipshod (“Memory of being shunned etched in Jewish psyche”, May 15th). He describes the call for a boycott of the Israeli-hosted Eurovision song contest as “indiscriminate”, “blunt” and “ill-defined”. It is none of those things: it is a peaceful, calibrated and proportionate attempt to exert leverage over the Israeli government so that it might change its egregious policies towards Palestinians.
Far from a failure to “communicate fairly” with Israelis, the boycott call is sending a serious and constructive message – that so long as its policies are persisted with, the Israeli government will not be allowed reap the propaganda and other benefits it very consciously seeks to accrue from its sponsorship of cultural events like the Eurovision.
For this mild and measured boycott call to be equated with anti-Semitism is, among other things, an insult to the many Jews (including Israelis) who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in defence of Palestinian rights. — Yours, etc,
Sandycove, Co Dublin.
Sir, – In his heartfelt and excellent analysis of how boycott impacts on Jews of all nationalities and political allegiances – including those who are harshly critical of Israel’s current regime – Mark Paul illustrates an understanding of a historical race memory that escapes, or is entirely dismissed by the global BDS movement.
Paul’s account of visiting Yad Vashem and seeing how boycott was an essential and indeed requisite tool in the slow process of isolation, persecution and finally extermination of firstly German, then Europe’s Jewish communities is a profound acknowledgment that the term impacts on the generational memory of the global Jewish diaspora.
This reality is also front and centre in the Imperial War Museum’s permanent display commemorating the Holocaust which, like Yad Vashem, empirically illustrates how the inexorable path to Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor started with the isolation of Jews through an initial process of boycott. Therefore, I too have taken the same oath as Paul, who “swore . . . that I would never support a boycott that even risked giving the mistaken impression of targeting Jewish people.” – Yours, etc,
Kinsale, Co Cork.