Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Eurovision’

Nuls Points for Israel on Naqba Day

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 15th May, 2018

Gaza protestsSome Israelis may still be celebrating their Eurovision Song Contest win at the weekend, but as Palestinians today mark the 70th anniversary of the Naqba or Catastrophe that sent an estimated 700,000 people fleeing from their ancestral homes, the mood should be one of respectful mourning on both sides of the Gaza border fence. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and many hundreds wounded as Israeli forces have fired live ammunition at Palestinian protesters. Arab youths who see little hope for their future living in the blockaded Gaza Strip have been mown down in their prime with a callousness that demonstrates just what little value the Israeli Defense Force and government put on Palestinian lives. One can criticise Hamas for encouraging action along the heavily fortified border — indeed, the British government has done just that — but the real blame for the ongoing massacre rests firmly with the Israeli state. Tensions have been inflamed by President Trump’s disastrous decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, adding insult to injury for those Palestinians living under occupation in the eastern part of the city by sending his daughter Ivanka to do the honours at the temporary embassy compound yesterday, as if she were opening a garden fete. The final status of Jerusalem is something that still has to be settled, but by unilaterally declaring the city to be Israel’s undivided capital, Binyamin Netanyahu has guaranteed the anger, even hatred, of hundreds of millions of Muslims (and many Christians, as well as liberal Jews) around the world. Israel is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its creation now, but for Palestinians the legacy of their dispossession is a bitter one. Today in London and in many other cities there will be demonstrations and vigils to mark Naqba Day. These should be matched not just by words of condemnation for the disproportionate Israeli actions (as is happening) but also with sanctions of some kind. Israel is literally getting away with murder, and in doing so undermines its own legitimacy as a self-styled Western nation in the heart of the Middle East..

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Eurovision Comes to Orpington

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 15th May, 2011

Eurovision is an annual fiesta of kitsch, wherever it is staged. This year it was housed in a converted football stadium in Dusseldorf. But for many of the estimated 120 million TV viewers who watch the event, it’s the atmosphere at Eurovision parties they’re attending that’s important. A number of local Liberal Democrat associations hold fundraising evenings that are a good way of winding down from local elections — particularly important this year, when disappointment was the predominant feeling amongst LibDem campaigners. I joined friends at Orpington Liberal Club, not for the first time. I thought Moldova’s entry and Jedward from Ireland really got into the spirit of things with their entries, though the winning Azerbaijanis, Ell and Nikki, were better than some others. At least Azerbaijan — which I visited on a journalistic assignment a few months ago — has the money and facilities to host next year’s jamboree. I do miss Terry Wogan’s wit, sarcasm and sometimes sheer mental fatigue as the British TV commentator, though. Graham Norton, untypically, was last night more low-key and rarely outrageous, which is surely what was called for.

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