Madonna: I refuse to boycott Eurovision 'to suit someone's political agenda'

A Jerusalem Municipality ad for the Eurovision festival at the First Station

A Jerusalem Municipality ad for the Eurovision festival at the First Station

"If we do not have a signed contract, she can not perform on that stage", Eurovision executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said. However, Sylvan Adams, the Israeli-Canadian billionaire who will pay Madonna's fees, claims the artist is already en route to Israel for her performance.

In a statement to Reuters today, popular music icon Madonna pushed back against Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) pressure to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, where she is scheduled to make a guest appearance.

"Inspired by conscientious artists who shunned Sun City in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural organizations have called for nonviolent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under global law".

The contest-which a year ago drew 189 million viewers-will be co-produced by the European Broadcasting Union and Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

She says she prays for "a new path toward peace".

Following the Jewish New Year in 2007, Madonna told then-President of Israel Shimon Peres, "I can't believe I have won this opportunity to raise a toast for the New Year in the State of Israel of all places, with the president who I admire so much". The winning country customarily hosts the following year.

Madonna, 60, is expected to perform two songs in Tel Aviv, one from her upcoming "Madame X" album to be released in June. She had taken her world tours to Israel in 2009 and 2012, and is a follower of the mystical form of Judaism called Kabbalah.

Madonna's Ray of Light foundation also funds projects that benefit Palestinians, including funding teachers' salaries in Gaza through UNRWA and providing small loans to female Palestinian farmers. Security has been tight in Tel Aviv amid fears that activists may seek to disrupt the competition.

The "Like A Prayer" pop superstar, who is due to perform at Eurovision, responded to protests from pro-Palestinian groups who want companies and performers to boycott Israel in a statement on Tuesday (May 14).