Pop icon Madonna has said she won’t be bowed by “political pressure” over her choice to perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv, but her appearance is still in doubt over a more bizarre reason.
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.
The pop queen who is the superstar guest performer at the weekend’s grand final said she will continue to challenge human rights violation but would not bow to political pressure.
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) has targeted artists and broadcasters at Eurovision, urging them not to participate in the event.
Madonna has previously staged concerts in Israel in 2009 and 2012, and has been a follower of the mystical form of Judaism called Kabbalah.
“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 singer said in a statement to Reuters.
“My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict.
“I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”
Madonna’s Ray of Light foundation supports Palestinian social justice and women’s empowerment projects.
Madonna is reported to perform two songs at the grand final, one from her 14th studio album Madame X with the other believed to be Like A Prayer.
Her appearance is being bankrolled by Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams but Eurovision organisers said at a press conference on Tuesday they have not secured a performance contract with the artist.
On the eve of her arrival in Tel Aviv on Adams’ private jet, Eurovision’s executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand told media they had not officially confirmed her appearance at the event.
“People have spoken on behalf of the EBU, for many months now, without it being authorised,” Mr Sand said.
“We are in a situation now that is a bit strange. 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.
“If there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage.”
It is not known what the issues are behind the last-minute negotiations but broadcasters associated with the event have suggested it is not unusual for performance contracts to be formalised just before or even after a show.
And insiders backstage have spotted two huge tented pavilions being erected near the Expo arena which they suspect will be her private areas for her dressing rooms and rehearsals.