A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals have criticised Madonna’s defence of her upcoming performance in Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Madonna this morning defended her decision to perform during the grand final in Tel Aviv, saying she will “never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda”.
But the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – part of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) – said in a statement that “true solidarity means heeding the call of the oppressed”.
The pop star is due to appear on Saturday May 18 and is expected to perform two songs, including a classic track and a new single.
This has prompted calls from musicians including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and pro-Palestinian activists from the BDS campaign for her to cancel her appearance.
A statement from PACBI said: “Israel’s decades-old regime of apartheid, apartheid and settler-colonialism explicitly uses international artists and events to cover up its human rights abuses.
“At a time when fewer and fewer major artists are performing in apartheid Tel Aviv, Eurovision is exactly what Israel’s far-right government needs to distract from its crimes.
“We urge you and all participants to withdraw from Eurovision.”
In a statement earlier today the Queen of Pop, 60, said she wanted to use her performance to create “a new path toward peace” and would not be cowed by political pressure.
She 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.
“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.”
Israel is hosting the contest after Netta Barzilai won the 2018 event in Lisbon, Portugal, with her song Toy, a Me Too anthem featuring bizarre chicken noises.
Recent statements from the United Nations condemned Israel for what it said were human rights violations.
The contest, now in its 64th year, features entries from 41 countries and was watched by an estimated 189 million last year.
Madonna’s performance at the Expo Tel Aviv venue comes as the Like A Prayer singer returns following a four-year hiatus.
She is preparing to release Madame X, her 14th album, and earlier this month announced a world tour including a string of shows at the London Palladium.