Madonna pushes back against BDS pressure to boycott Eurovision

13 2019 shows an anti-occupation billboard by Israeli NGO Breaking The Silence erected on a street in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv

Madonna vows to sing at Eurovision, despite calls for boycott

In response to Madonna's statement, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has responded, calling Eurovision an "artwashing" of "Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians".

Earlier this month, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip with air raids, artillery and gunboat shooting as armed factions in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets at towns and settlements in southern Israel.

Miller-Heidke, who performed atop a moving pole in a billowing white gown, sang Zero Gravity, a ballad about emerging from depression, for the crowds in Israel.

"I'm happy to say that within a matter of minutes we managed to overcome the attack", he said in an interview with Israeli army radio.

At least 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed before a ceasefire agreement was signed between Gaza and Israel.

Those who win through to Saturday's final will join host Israel and the so-called "big five" of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - all of whom are entitled to skip the elimination rounds.

Palestinians and their foreign supporters have called, so far fruitlessly, on countries to shun the Tel Aviv songfest as part of wider efforts to isolate Israel internationally.

Madonna intends to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv, Israel, this weekend, despite calls by activists for her to boycott the event, the singer said Tuesday.

Many artists continue to play Israel while condemning the ongoing bloodshed in the Israeli/Palestine conflict, including Nick Cave, who past year wrote an open letter calling "the cultural boycott of Israel... cowardly and shameful".

On Tuesday, Madonna addressed the controversy, telling Reuters she would "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".

"Israel's been flouting global law, and human rights lie trampled on the floor".

The government statistics, released by Israel's finance ministry, showed Israeli spending in the West Bank in 2017, Trump's first year in office, rose to about $459m, from about $330m in 2016.

Its supporters take inspiration from the campaign used by worldwide activists to end apartheid in South Africa by isolating Israel politically and economically.

Demonstrators have vowed to continue their protests throughout the week's event.

Madonna's statement echoes Cave's sentiment, as she defends her right to perform to Israeli fans while saying her "heart breaks" over the violence.

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