- 2018 National LGBT Conference
- 27 July 2018
Conference condemns Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy to the city.
On 14 May, as Israeli and US officials celebrated the embassy’s official opening, Israeli troops fired with live ammunition on unarmed Palestinians taking part in the Great Return March protests in Gaza, killing 62 and injuring over 2000. The protests, which started on 30 March, have continued. As of 14 July, 138 Palestinians have been killed and more than 16,000 injured (including over 4,600 by live fire) in these demonstrations, including teenagers, journalists and medics.
On 12 May, Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed that it would be hosted in Jerusalem. The European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, then announced that people should not book their flights to Israel for Eurovision 2019 ‘just yet’ and should wait for official announcements ’on where and when it’ll take place’.
The Israeli government has been brazenly using Eurovision to push its claim to Jerusalem and as part of its ongoing ‘Brand Israel’ strategy, designed to change Israel’s image from that of a country in a state of war to that of a ‘liberal and modern’ tourist destination. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people are a primary target of ‘Brand Israel’, and of a campaign specifically aimed at trying to undermine support in LGBT communities for the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, the #BoycottEurovision2019 campaign has been gathering pace, with the launch of a campaign in Ireland endorsed by major public figures, artists, the Musicians Union and Irish Equity, a petition in Iceland signed by over 25,000 people, and similar calls in Australia, Malta, Sweden and the UK. Currently, the indications are that the contest will be hosted in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem but in June 20 Palestinian cultural and journalists organisations published an open letter calling for a boycott wherever Israel holds it.
2017 Conference instructed the National LGBT Committee to continue to work with the National Executive Council (NEC) on Palestine in various ways, including stepping up campaigning to raise LGBT people’s awareness as to why they should not go on holiday to Israel, and be sitting on the beach in Tel Aviv or going to Tel Aviv Pride while, just an hour’s drive away, Palestinians are living under siege in Gaza.
Conference believes that the UK should boycott Eurovision 2019 and instructs the National LGBT Committee to continue work with the NEC and International Department to:
A)Step up campaigning to raise LGBT people’s awareness as to why they should not go to Eurovision 2019 or on holiday to Israel;
B)Give appropriate support to the ‘Boycott Eurovision 2019‘ and No to Pinkwashing’ campaigns;
C)Encourage LGBT members, branch and regional groups to take up actions in support of Palestinian rights;
D)Publicise the work of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and encourage LGBT people to become members.