Madonna pushes back against BDS pressure to boycott Eurovision

A Jerusalem Municipality ad for the Eurovision festival at the First Station

But Madonna's participation unleashed a storm of protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has for years been pushing for investors and artists to shun Israel for its decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories.

She says she prays for "a new path toward peace". Jon Ola Sand said the union is still negotiating the terms of the contract with her and that "if we do not have a signed contract she can not perform on our stage".

"As security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning, USA citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness", the statement added.

Her two-song performance comes at a $1.3 million cost and will largely be covered by Canadian-Israeli philanthropist Sylvan Adams.

Kan said on Wednesday that an Israeli truck driver injured a day earlier while unloading technical equipment in the parking lot of the Eurovision venue had died.

Eurovision executive supervisor Sand called the situation "strange". "We have an artist that would love to participate on the stage, but without the contract, it can't happen".

However, the Eurovision organizers said the 60-year-old's participation was not yet signed and sealed, and that the final contract for her participation had yet to be finalized.

"If there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage".

London Palestine Action are releasing three Madonna spoofs to draw attention to the issue, including "Madonna Don't Go", a parody of Papa Don't Preach, as the Queen of Pop is due to perform at the star-studded event in Tel Aviv.

Australian contestant Kate Miller-Heidke is through to the finals.

The European song contest kicked off in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv on Tuesday amid the reported deployment of the country's Iron Dome anti-rocket systems.

Israel is hosting the Eurovision song contest this year after its entrant Netta Barzilai won the competition in 2018. Security has been tight in Tel Aviv amid fears that activists may seek to disrupt the competition.

Australians will be able to view the Grand Final live on SBS from 5am, Sunday May 19.

The UK, as one of the "big five" countries, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are already assured of a place in the grand final.

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