Pop superstar Madonna will perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel next month. The singer is expected to take to the stage in Tel Aviv on May 18th for two songs, amid calls growing calls for a boycott of the event.
Her appearance was first announced by local promoters Live Nation Israel, who said the performance would be “both historical and hysterical”.
Madonna's decision to appear could prove controversial after stars including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters called for a boycott. Waters, as well as fellow musician Brian Eno and filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, put their names on a letter published in The Guardian backing an appeal from Palestinian artists.
It said: "We, the undersigned artists from Europe and beyond, support the heartfelt appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hosted by Israel.
“Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”
Other signatories include novelist Yann Martel, actress Julie Christie, writer and director Peter Kosminsky and British band Wolf Alice.
Israel is hosting this year's song contest after singer Netta Barzilai won last year in Portugal with Toy.
Madonna took her world tours to Israel in 2009 and 2012 and has been a follower of the mystical form of Judaism called Kabbalah. She has been working on an untitled new album for the last several months.
Australian musician Nick Cave has described the cultural boycott of Israel as "cowardly and shameful". Cave played a pair of concerts in Tel Aviv in November 2017 with his band the Bad Seeds, and received criticism from artists who oppose Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and refuse to perform in the country
Ireland will be represented by Sarah McTernan at the Eurovision. She will perform the song 22 in the second semi-final on Thursday, May 16th. – Reuters, PA