Music News

Madonna gets into Eurovision groove in Tel Aviv despite Palestinian criticism

Singer Madonna walks in a street ahead of the final of 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 16, 2019. Picture taken May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Meiri/YNet/Pplus

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Pop star Madonna took time out ahead of her scheduled guest performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, attending an evening event in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Paparazzi caught the “Queen of Pop” on her way to a nightclub at the Tel Aviv port after a concert was held there. The venue on the Mediterranean-front promenade has hosted fringe events for the Eurovision music competition.

Madonna was escorted along the port’s promenade by security guards.

The 60-year-old singer has faced criticism for performing at Saturday’s Eurovision final, the target of pro-Palestinian boycott calls in protest against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and alleged human rights abuses.

Israel says the boycott calls are discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

In a statement earlier this week, Madonna explained her decision to sing on the Eurovision stage, saying she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see “a new path toward peace”.

“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,” she said.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded saying: “Artwashing Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians for a million dollars must be among the most immoral political agendas.”

Last night’s Eurovision semi-final saw Albania, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland advance to Saturday’s final.

Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian