Madonna urged to abandon Eurovision performance by Palestinian campaigners

A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals have published an open letter to the star.

Madonna has been urged to abandon plans to play Eurovision. Photo: PA

By Alex Green, Press Association

Madonna has been urged to abandon reported plans to perform at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the West Bank published an open letter calling on the singer and activist to boycott the event, which is being held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Madonna is reportedly in talks to perform two songs during the final on May 18, including a classic track and a new single.

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But the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – part of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign – suggested her appearance would be used by the Israeli government “to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians”.

Her decision to appear follows calls from stars including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters for an international boycott of the 64th edition of the televised singing contest.

The statement posted to social media by PACBI read: “Palestinians hope that you will not undermine our struggle for freedom, justice and equality by performing at Eurovision in apartheid Tel Aviv, on the ruins of the ethnically-cleansed village of al-Shaykh Muwannis.

Madonna is set to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest (Ian West/PA)

“The call from Palestinian artists to boycott Eurovision hosted by Israel is supported by more than 100,000 people signing petitions, over 100 LGBTQIA groups, more than 20 Israeli artists, and hundreds of prominent international artists including the 1994 Eurovision winner.

“Israel’s fanatic, far-right government is cynically exploiting your performance, and those of the contestants, to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians.”

Recent statements from the United Nations condemned Israel for what it said were human rights violations.

Waters, as well as fellow musician Brian Eno and filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, recently signed a letter published in The Guardian backing an appeal from Palestinian artists.

Other signatories include novelist Yann Martel, actress Julie Christie, writer and director Peter Kosminsky and British band Wolf Alice.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is due to be held in Israel after the 2018 contest was won by Israel entry Netta with her song Toy.

Eurovision and representatives of Madonna have been contacted for comment.