Published: Wed, May 15, 2019

Madonna pushes back against BDS pressure to boycott Eurovision

Madonna pushes back against BDS pressure to boycott Eurovision

Last year's victor was Israeli entrant Netta Barzilai with the song "Toy", which went on to top the Billboard dance club chart in the USA in August, a first for an Israeli singer.

"We are in a situation now that is a bit unusual". "We have an artist that would love to participate on the stage, but without the contract, it can't happen". She will lead a delegation of 135 people, including 40 members of a choir headed by rapper Quabo, 25 dancers and dozens of professionals who are in charge of choreography, stage, lighting and video art, according to Israel media.

News that Madonna had been booked as a guest performer had provoked opponents of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to demand she re-think her commitment.

Eurovision viewers within 1.2 kilometres of the song contest venue in Tel Aviv were told to seek shelter from an imminent missile strike, Haaretz reports.

The pop star is due to appear on Saturday May 18 and is expected to perform two songs, including a classic track and a new single.

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.

Almost 200 million people are expected to tune-in on Saturday to the competition, which pits singers and bands from different countries against each other in a live final with public voting.

Other artists have responded to the call for boycott.

In January, British figures including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, Mike Leigh, Maxine Peake and the band Wolf Alice signed a letter calling on the BBC to cancel coverage of the 2019 song contest.

"I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this bad cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", she added.

"After its theft of Palestinian land and culture, Israel is now trying to appropriate a symbol of our nonviolent resistance", Alia Malak of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which oversees the BDS movement's academic and cultural campaigns, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Miller-Heidke will have to do it again on Saturday May 18 to win the controversial competition, which critics say has been used to whitewash the global reputation of Israel and its treatment of neighbouring Palestine.

The parody comes as the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off this week in Tel Aviv with two semi-finals set to air this evening (May 14) and a second one on Thursday (May 16).

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