Madonna rebuffs calls for boycott of Israeli Eurovision

Comment Lights camera action Eurovision

The Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel has urged artists to skip Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

But Sand, who has produced the contest since 2010, said on Monday that negotiations were still underway.

Israel's webcast of the Eurovision Song Contest was hacked with animated images of explosions in the host city, Tel Aviv, amid growing calls by pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the event.

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.

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.

They said the star was due to play two songs during the interval - one from her new album Madame X and another from her back catalogue, rumoured to be 1989's Like A Prayer.

The insider added that the Material Girl would bring a massive entourage of 160 people and the bill to bring her and her team to Tel Aviv comes in at a staggering $1m (£775,000).

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

"I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this awful cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", she added.

The contest-which a year ago drew 189 million viewers-will be co-produced by the European Broadcasting Union and Israeli public broadcaster KAN. "Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations - and we can not ignore Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian human rights", they wrote.

Wolf Alice, a four-member rock band formed in 2013, won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize for their 2018 album Visions of A Life, which reached #2 in the United Kingdom album charts.

"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.

Some artists, however, have rejected calls for a boycott.

In 2008, the format was extended to include two semifinal shows, held on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the final - which traditionally takes place on a Saturday - as the number of participating countries had swelled to preclude featuring every entrant in a single show.

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