- 09 Apr 19
The world's most successful ever female popstar is set to perform at perhaps the most controversial Eurovision in living memory.
Madonna seems set to perform two songs during the interval of the Eurovision Song Competition, with a global audience of up to 180 million people.
Her appearance was announced by local promoters Live Nation Israel, who said the performance would be "both historical and hysterical".
Despite this, however, Eurovision organisers told the BBC that "No final decisions have been made, or agreements signed.
"Official news and updates will come directly from the Eurovision channels in due course."
Madonna has had a long association with Israel, going as far as launching her MDNA tour in Tel Aviv in 2012. She has also studied at the Kaballah Centre in Los Angeles, and is said to refuse work on a Saturday, because it is the Sabbath. However, she has explained in interviews that she does not regard herself as having converted to Judaism – but that she is an Israelite, referring to the fact that this is the source of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Assuming it goes ahead, the singer's Eurovision performance is expected to cost around $1m (£765,000), which – according to reports – will be covered by Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, who frequently finances festivals and concerts in the country in order to pushback against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.
Artists Call For Boycott
Many prominent performers from across the music world have already called for a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision, which is being hosted in Israel because the country won the competition last year with singer Netta.
Artists like Pink Floyd's Roger Waters have cited Israel's human rights abuse in Palestine as more than sufficient grounds for supporting a boycott of the competition.
Despite numerous calls for Ireland not to participate in the Eurovision this year, and calls for RTÉ not to play any part in the competition, Co. Clare singer Sarah McTernan has been selected as the Irish contestant for the event. Unless something changes, she will perform her song '22' at this year's show, which reaches its final stage on May 18.
A significant number of leading Irish and international musicians, film-makers and artists have called for a boycott, including Brian Eno, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Robert Ballagh, The Knife, Wolf Alice, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Moddi, Alia Shawkat, Roger Waters, Alexi Sayle, Stephen Rea, Kila, Luka Bloom, Julie Christie, AL Kennedy and Nick Seymour of Crowded House.
The possibility of Madonna performing is likely only to further incite anger among activists.
Israeli citizens are heading to the polls today to vote in their legislative elections. Of course, the 5 million people from Gaza and the West Bank, forced to live in an open prison of Israel's making, will not have any say in the outcome. In a controversial bid to snatch electoral victory, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – currently facing charges of corruption – yesterday promised to annexe the lands in the West Bank which are illegally occupied by Israeli settlers. West Bank and Gaza checkpoints and border crossings are being sealed off for election day, and entry to Israel for all Israeli-issued permit holders will be banned, excluding humanitarian and medical cases.