Madonna sparks controversy by displaying Palestinian flag during performance at 'non political' Eurovision

The Associated Press

May 20, 2019 12:29:28 IST

Jerusalem: Eurovision Song Contest organizers said on Sunday, 19 May they were taken aback by the display of a Palestinian flag during Madonna’s guest appearance, which defied contest rules.

Madonna sparks controversy by displaying Palestinian flag during performance at non political Eurovision

Madonna performing her her new single "Future" at Eurovision Song Contest. Twitter

While Madonna and Migos rapper Quavo performed her new single 'Future' at the contest, hosted in Tel Aviv, two of her dancers walked hand-in-hand onstage displaying Israeli and Palestinian flags pinned on their backs.

The European Broadcast Union, or EBU, said that Madonna had not cleared that part of the act with broadcasters and “was advised as to the non-political nature of the event.”

According to Rolling Stone, the Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called Madonna's performance “immoral” because it comes at a time when Palestinians are being brutally oppressed.

“At a time when fewer and fewer major artists are performing in apartheid Tel Aviv," PACBI wrote on Twitter, "Eurovision is exactly what Israel’s far-right government needs to distract from its crimes. Artwashing Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians for a million dollars must be among the most immoral political agendas." The group's mention of "a million dollars" was a reference to Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams, who paid a more than $1 million performance fee to bring Madonna in for the event.

Madonna later defended the stunt on Twitter, sharing a clip of the dancers.

Check out her tweet here

She also told news website CNN.com: "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."

"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," Madonna continued. "I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace."
Yet, according to The Associated Press, most reactions to Madonna’s performance had nothing to do with her political gesture. Many on social media panned her for singing off key.

EBU also said it is also considering “consequences” for Iceland’s performers, the goth band Hatari, who whipped out a Palestinian flag during the vote tally.

Updated Date: May 20, 2019 12:29:28 IST