Tuesday 25 June 2019

Madonna controversy as Israeli and Palestinian flags feature in Eurovision show

Eurovision said the star has “been made aware” the event is supposed to be “non-political”.

A section of Madonna’s controversial Eurovision performance in which her backing dancers wore Iraeli and Palestinian flags on the backs of their outfits was not an approved part of the act (Yui Mok/PA)
A section of Madonna’s controversial Eurovision performance in which her backing dancers wore Iraeli and Palestinian flags on the backs of their outfits was not an approved part of the act (Yui Mok/PA)

By Press Association Reporters

A section of Madonna’s controversial Eurovision Song Contest performance in which her backing dancers displayed Iraeli and Palestinian flags was not an approved part of the act, organisers said.

The pop star, 60, had defied calls from pro-Palestinian activists to cancel the show in Tel Aviv, saying beforehand she wanted to create “a new path toward peace”.

During her performance at the final, Madonna’s backing dancers were seen wearing Israel and Palestine flags on their backs.

Eurovision has now confirmed they were not an approved part of the show and Madonna has “been made aware” the event is supposed to be “non-political”.

Eurovision said: “In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, two of Madonna’s dancers briefly displayed the Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits.

“This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared with the EBU and the Host Broadcaster, KAN. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.”

Madonna had taken to the stage flanked by 30 dancers dressed as monks.

The Queen of Pop appeared at the top of a flight of steps, dressed in a cape and hood and wearing a metal breastplate.

Brandishing a cross, she stepped slowly towards the crowd at the Expo Tel Aviv and sung her 1989 hit Like A Prayer to raucous applause.

Madonna then performed new song Future, a collaboration with Migos rapper Quavo who appeared on stage with her.

Earlier in the night she appeared in a pre-recorded message, warning the public to not “underestimate the power of music to bring people together”.

She said: “You’re all winners, no matter what happens. The reason I mean that is because to get here, where you are right now, is not easy. Right?

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Madonna’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest final contained Israeli and Palestinian flags (Aurore Marechal/PA)

“First you had a dream and then you had to believe in that dream, and you had to make many sacrifices. That makes you a winner no matter what.

“Another really obvious statement is, look at all the delegates behind us, everyone here is from all over the world. So many countries that I have been privileged not just to visit but to experience.

“And the one thing that brings me to those countries, and the thing that brings all these people here tonight, is music.

“So let’s not underestimate the power of music to bring people together. That’s the most important thing. Music makes the people come together.”

Madonna’s performance comes as she 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.

Press Association

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