Madonna pushes back against BDS pressure to boycott Eurovision
In a statement to Reuters today, popular music icon Madonna pushed back against Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) pressure to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, where she is scheduled to make a guest appearance.
The “Queen of Pop” and best-selling female recording artist of all time explained her decision to perform at the popular competition in Israel, saying, “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.”
Madonna’s appearance is scheduled for Saturday, despite calls from pro-Palestinian activists to disassociate with the event, which was watched last year in 50 European countries and by 189 million people worldwide.
Madonna, who has studied Kabbalah with the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles, included Israel in her 2009 and 2012 world tours, and in 2004 took on the Hebrew name “Esther,” although she has not formally converted to Judaism.
She was photographed visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2009 and also visited the holy site in 2004.
Following the Jewish New Year in 2007, Madonna told then-President of Israel Shimon Peres, “I can’t believe I have won this opportunity to raise a toast for the New Year in the State of Israel of all places, with the president who I admire so much.”
“Tell me what I should do, Mr. Peres, because I am in love with Israel,” she said.
Madonna’s Ray of Light foundation also funds projects that benefit Palestinians, including funding teachers’ salaries in Gaza through UNRWA and providing small loans to female Palestinian farmers. She also funds the Palestine Fair Trade Association.