Madonna won’t cancel Israel performance: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda”

Madonna has rejected calls to cancel her upcoming appearance at Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, saying in a statement: “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.”

Worsening conditions in Palestine have led a number of prominent artists to launch the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in protest of Israel’s oppressive policies toward Palestine. The boycott has been successful in convincing several musicians to cancel concerts in Israel, though other artists including Radiohead and Nick Cave rejected such calls. It appears Madonna is content in joining the latter.

“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 added in her statement (via Reuters).

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, a staunch supporter of BDS, said Madonna’s appearance in Israel “raises, yet again, fundamentally important ethical and political questions for each and every one of us to contemplate.” In an op-ed for The Guardian, he wrote, “Some of my fellow musicians who have recently performed in Israel say they are doing it to build bridges and further the cause of peace. Bullshit. To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters… all that bad stuff.”

Madonna’s expected two-song performance at the Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 18th. It comes in promotion of her new album, Madame X, and its supporting tour.

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