Madonna rejects calls for Tel Aviv Eurovision boycott

Eurovision week kicks off with glitz and glamor in Tel Aviv

Contestants from 41 countries walked an orange carpet in Tel Aviv's "Culture Square" on May 12 for the opening ceremony of Eurovision 2019, brushing aside security concerns and calls for a pro-Palestinian boycott. "We don't have a signed contract with her team, and if we do not have a signed contract, she can not perform on our stage".

The pop star is due to appear on Saturday May 18 and is expected to perform two songs, including a classic track and a new single.

Eurovision rules state audience members can not vote for their own countries, but Miller-Heidke wooed enough voters to make the cut.

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 who would like to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, and who we would love to welcome on that stage, but for that we need to have the framework secured.

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.

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.

Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - the big five countries that make the biggest financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union, which broadcasts the song contest - along with Israel, as host country, have all bypassed the semis per the rules.

Protesters in Ireland also called for RTE studios to boycott the event. Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice backed the Eurovision boycott.

"After its theft of Palestinian land and culture, Israel is now trying to appropriate a symbol of our nonviolent resistance", Alia Malak of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which oversees the BDS movement's academic and cultural campaigns, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The group's website says "Israel effectively declared itself an apartheid state by adopting the 'Jewish Nation-State Law'".

A group of celebrities - among them Stephen Fry and Sharon Obsourne - signed a counter open letter rejecting the boycott.

The statement highlighted that as Israel was declared victor of last year's competition, 60 Palestinians were being killed as they took part in peaceful protests in the besieged Gaza Strip.

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