Eurovision 2019: Madonna Defends Performance At Israel Finale

Brenda Watkins
May 16, 2019

Last month, Pink Floyd vocalist and BDS overlord Roger Waters appealed to Madonna to rethink her decision to perform at Israel's Eurovision, saying it "normalizes the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters". Australian contestant Kate Miller-Heidke is through to the finals.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, had no immediate comment.

"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.

Madonna may be unable to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, as organisers claim the superstar has yet to sign a contract. At least 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed in this latest spate of violence.

The ten finalists will participate in the Grand Final this Saturday alongside the ten countries who will qualify in the second Semi-Final tonight, and the six pre-qualified countries- the "Big Five" (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom) and host country Israel.

In response to Madonna's statement, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has responded, calling Eurovision an "artwashing" of "Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians".

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A Kremlin spokesperson rejected the notion that Putin's schedule was an intentional "message" for the USA administration. For his part, Lavrov said Moscow would work "to ensure this situation does not descend into a military scenario".

Palestinians and their foreign supporters have called, so far fruitlessly, on countries to shun the Tel Aviv songfest as part of wider efforts to isolate Israel internationally.

Many artists continue to play Israel while condemning the ongoing bloodshed in the Israeli/Palestine conflict, including Nick Cave, who a year ago wrote an open letter calling "the cultural boycott of Israel... cowardly and shameful".

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from the rally, said: "For the activists here, it [the protest] coincides with the first anniversary of the moving of the United States embassy to Jerusalem and the border protest that took place in Gaza on the same day when more than 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli sniper fire".

Kathy McCabe is in Tel Aviv as a guest of SBS.

But in a statement to CNN, the singer said, "I'll 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".

The Palestinian-led BDS movement described it as it "crude propaganda straight out of apartheid South Africa's playbook".

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