Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Madonna's performance at final in doubt

The billboard put up alongside Tel Aviv's busiest highway by an Israeli anti-occupation group is a play on the 2019 Eurovision slogan

Pop star Madonna has rejected calls for her to boycott this year's Eurovision song contest in Israel, saying she will "never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda".

Kate Miller-Heidke has secured Australia's spot in the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest thanks to a soaring vocal performance and some equally lofty stage work.

'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 awful cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", she said.

"At a time when fewer and fewer major artists are performing in apartheid Tel Aviv, Eurovision is exactly what Israel's far-right government needs to distract from its crimes".

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.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have called for performers and worldwide broadcasters to boycott the show due to Israel being the host nation.

The European Broadcast Union (EBU), which has overall responsibility for the annual event, said it has not yet completed the paperwork necessary for Madonna to perform.

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"We are in a situation now that is a bit odd".

But Eurovision said the EBU was still negotiating with the artist.

Sand did not say what issues were delaying the signing of a contract, but confirmed that negotiations were in a "final stage". "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".

But according to the Jerusalem Post, Madonna is expected to arrive in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to begin rehearsals.

This Eurovision recap is absolutely chock-full of spoilers, so only continue reading if you've watched the first semi-final - or alternatively, keep reading if spoilers are your jam. "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. Eurovision tradition holds that the winning nation hosts the following year's event.

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

A counter-statement was signed by figures such as Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne and Marina Abramovic who argued that boycotting Eurovision was "an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition".

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