Culture&Arts

Madonna rejects calls for Tel Aviv Eurovision boycott

Madonna rejects calls for Tel Aviv Eurovision boycott

The first of the two semifinals in the Eurovision Song Contest began in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, with participants from 17 nations competing in the first round for the right to compete in Saturday's final, and hoping to bring the contest home to their country next year.

Regular television coverage was not affected.

Kathy McCabe is in Tel Aviv as a guest of SBS.

"At a certain point, there was a takeover - apparently by Hamas - of our digital broadcast", KAN chief Eldad Koblenz said Wednesday.

"I'm happy to say that within a matter of minutes we managed to overcome the attack", he said in an interview with Israeli army radio.

Many artists continue to play Israel while condemning the ongoing bloodshed in the Israeli/Palestine conflict, including Nick Cave, who past year wrote an open letter calling "the cultural boycott of Israel... cowardly and shameful".

Miller-Heidke, who performed atop a moving pole in a billowing white gown, sang Zero Gravity, a ballad about emerging from depression, for the crowds in Israel.

A total of 41 countries have been taking part in the hugely popular annual event, which is in its 64th year.

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Semi-final rounds are slated for Tuesday and Thursday, followed by the finals on Saturday evening.

The singer released a statement to CNN today where she said that she would not stop performing music "to suit someone's political agenda", but added that she would continue to speak out against human rights violations.

Speaking about the parody, Abusalama said: "On the day we filmed this video, Palestinians in Gaza including my family were being bombed indiscriminately yet again by Israel's apartheid regime".

"Israel's been flouting global law, and human rights lie trampled on the floor".

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

According to official data obtained by the AP news agency, Israel's government went on a spending spree in its occupied West Bank settlements following the election of President Donald Trump.

"It's an opportunity for propaganda and to market Israel as this cool, hip, multi-cultural European place, but actually it's an apartheid state and hosting it here is a political decision to overwrite the rights of the Palestinians", Shahaf Weisbein, the project coordinator for the Coalition of Women for Peace, told Al Jazeera.

The BDS - modelled after the South African anti-apartheid movement - was formed in 2005 by more than 200 Palestinian civil society organisations, urging non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with global law.