Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Madonna Will Perform in Israel at Eurovision Despite Calls for Boycott

Madonna Will Perform in Israel at Eurovision Despite Calls for Boycott

The Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel has urged artists to skip this week's Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

"It's an opportunity for propaganda and to market Israel as this cool, hip, multi-cultural European place, but actually it's an apartheid state and hosting it here is a political decision to overwrite the rights of the Palestinians", Shahaf Weisbein, the project coordinator for the Coalition of Women for Peace, told Al Jazeera.

"We have an artist who would like to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, and who we would love to welcome on that stage".

Madonna has been urged to pull out of performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with a "Papa Don't Preach" parody that focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Madonna, who has studied Kabbalah with the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles, included Israel in her 2009 and 2012 world tours, and in 2004 took on the Hebrew name "Esther", although she has not formally converted to Judaism.

However, the Eurovision organizers said the 60-year-old's participation was not yet signed and sealed, and that the final contract for her participation had yet to be finalized.

The 64th Eurovision Song Contest holds semi-finals in Tel Aviv, Israel's entertainment and business capital, today and May 16 ahead of the grand final on May 18.

"If there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage".

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She is expected to perform two songs during the show's interval, including one track from her new Madame X album. "I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this awful cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", the statement continued.

However, while fans of the Medellin singer had thought it was a done deal, Eurovision's executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand has thrown things into doubt.

They received the night's loudest cheer, combining dance music, heavy rock and pop in front of an global audience at the Expo Tel Aviv.

Madonna's appearance is scheduled for Saturday, despite calls from pro-Palestinian activists to disassociate with the event, which was watched a year ago in 50 European countries and by 189 million people worldwide.

The hack comes amid a violent flare up of tensions between Israel and Palestinians which began on May 4, when hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, further escalating tensions in the region.

Some artists, however, have rejected calls for a boycott. Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice backed the Eurovision boycott.

"We asked Palestine - "do you want us to come" "No - do not come" and that's what you do, you respect the people who are being oppressed".

Hantman also said that Madonna was already "on her way" to Israel to take part in Saturday's show.

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