Madonna urged to boycott Eurovision contest in Israel

Brenda Watkins
May 15, 2019

Israel's government has tried to clamp down on opposition by launching a PR campaign using Google Ads which refers to the words "boycott" and "Eurovision", but leads to a glossy website extolling Israel as "Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational" - in a play on the BDS initials for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel earned the right to host after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai carried off last year's prize with her spunky pop anthem "Toy".

A man works on a Eurovision Song Contest banner on a building in Tel Aviv, Monday, May 13, 2019.

Pro-Palestinian BDS supporters have called on artists to boycott the contest, saying it is "whitewashing" Israel's crimes.

Madonna has been rumoured to be performing at the song contest, and in April, concert promoter Live Nation Israel wrote in a Facebook post that Madonna would indeed perform two songs.

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.

Madonna's much-publicised performance at this weekend's Eurovision Song Contest could be in question after the show's organisers revealed that no contract has yet been signed. "I'm really happy to be here", said Cypriot singer Tamta, the first artist to stroll the walkway flanked by visiting photographers and reporters. "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.

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"We know that at a certain stage there was an attempt, apparently by Hamas, to commandeer our digital broadcast", Kan CEO, Eldad Koblenz, told Israel's Army Radio.

The insider added that the Material Girl would bring a massive entourage of 160 people and the bill to bring her and her team to Tel Aviv comes in at a staggering $1m (£775,000).

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.

"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".

Israel has been accused of building settlements on occupied Palestinian lands that are considered illegal under worldwide law.

Some artists, however, have rejected calls for a boycott.

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

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