Madonna at Eurovision: Defies BDS & Supports 2-State Peace

Madonna defied BDS by performing at this year’s Eurovision contest held in Tel Aviv (her fourth visit to Israel). She subtly signaled support for a two-state solution by having one dancer wearing a Palestinian flag on her back while arm-in-arm with another dancer with an Israeli flag on his back.

Somewhat enigmatically, a couple of her dancers wore gas masks crowned by flowers; this apparently was a protest against the conflict.  The leadership of Eurovision declared that these gestures were not revealed at rehearsal and violated the contest’s no-politics rule.  

This is from the Haaretz news article reporting on Madonna’s decision to appear; note that her foundation supports Americans for Peace Now:

“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,” the singer said in a statement to Reuters. 

“My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace,” she added.  . . .

The singer’s Ray of Light foundation, which promotes social justice and women’s empowerment worldwide, supports a number of Palestinian projects.

They include funding teachers’ salaries at schools in the Gaza Strip through the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency UNRWA and micro loans to female farmers through the Palestine Fair Trade Association. The foundation also supports Americans for Peace Now, which campaigns for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

Last year in Lisbon, Israel’s entry in the Eurovision competition, Netta Barzilai, won the contest, with a performance infused with the message of female empowerment.  Our post at TTN also noted the political context at the time: “Eurovision to Gaza: From Best to Bad.”  This year’s winner in Tel Aviv was singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands.  

Postscript: Hillel Schenker, a veteran Israeli peace activist (who made aliya from Brooklyn in 1963) and is currently the Israeli co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal, provided further coverage on Madonna’s appearance, along with links to videos of his favorite performances at the Eurovision event.  The title of his Times of Israel blog post, “Bye Bye, Eurovision Pie,” is an allusion to Madonna’s hit cover version of Don McLean’s “American Pie.”