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'Human rights supporter' Madonna to perform at Eurovision

May 14, 2019 11:43 A.M. (Updated: May 14, 2019 3:51 P.M.)
TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- American singer Madonna gave a confirmation regarding her controversial performance at the Eurovision song contest, saying that she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see "a new path toward peace," on Tuesday.

Despite calls for boycott by various international artists and pro-Palestinian groups and organizations, Madonna is set to perform two songs on Saturday during the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv, in central Israel.

Concerning her decision to perform at Eurovision, Madonna told Reuters news outlet that she was a supporter of all human rights.

The 60-year-old 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."

She added, "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.”

This would be Madonna’s fourth performance in Israel. The first came in 1993, and was followed by concerts in 2009 and 2012.

Even Roger Waters, the founder of Pink Floyd, urged Madonna to cancel her performance and not to “normalize” apartheid.

Waters said in a letter, entitled “If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv,” published in The Guardian news outlet, “To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalize the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters … all that bad stuff.”

Waters continued, “The resisting Palestinians have asked us, 'the bleeding hearts and the artists' for our help. We, all of us have, in my view, an absolute moral and human obligation as fellow human beings to answer their call.”

Recently, some 171 Swedish artists and celebrities have signed an open letter urging to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and stressed that "as long as Israel, with its apartheid policy, denies the Palestinians their basic human rights, we must renounce all participation in Israeli cultural exchanges.”

In September 2018, over 140 artists from around the world, including six Israeli artists, signed a letter calling for the boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and demanding the song contest should be boycotted if it is "hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights."

Performing in Israel still remains highly politicized, with many criticizing that Israel's military action towards the Palestinians is more than enough to justify a cultural boycott.

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