Madonna Defends Decision to Perform at Eurovision in Israel

Israel's Moovit has launched a new version of its app to provide Eurovision Song Festival tourists visiting Israel with information in English about buses and their routes

Israel's Moovit has launched a new version of its app to provide Eurovision Song Festival tourists visiting Israel with information in English about buses and their routes

Madonna has spoken out about performing at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest after a pro-Palestinian social media campaign urged her to boycott the event in Israel.

On Tuesday, Madonna addressed the controversy, telling Reuters she would "never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda, nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this bad cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", the statement continued.

It is unclear whether or not Madonna is actually scheduled to perform at Eurovision.

Miller-Heidke has made it through to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest, along with nine countries out of the other 16 that were also vying for a spot.

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.

Madonna is the latest popular artist to proceed with a performance in Israel after being lobbied to cancel.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have called for performers and global broadcasters to boycott the show due to Israel being the host nation.

Neil Farren, a Eurovision commentator live-blogging contest preparations in Tel Aviv, said the visibly heightened security and briefings on air raid sirens and bomb shelters likely rattled some contenders, who have so far remained tight-lipped about the political situation. We have an artist who would like to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, and who we would love to welcome on that stage, but for that we need to have the framework secured.

"We are negotiating now, in the final stage of that - but if there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage".

Singer Kate Miller-Heidke will represent Australia in the Eurovision grand final this weekend in Tel Aviv.

The association pointed to the killing of over 60 Palestinians during the violent border riots past year on the same day Israel won the Eurovision song contest.

Commenting on the row, Madonna said she was a supporter of all human rights.

Perhaps anticipating controversy, organizers chose to hold the contest in Tel Aviv - Israel's freewheeling cultural capital known for its beaches and gay-friendly lifestyle - instead of the capital, contested, conservative Jerusalem.

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