In a statement provided to the Associated Press, the 60-year-old claimed she would “never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda,” nor would she “stop speaking out against violations of human rights, wherever in the world they may be.”
The Like a Virgin singer is set to perform two songs this Saturday, including a cut from her upcoming album, Madame X, which drops in June.
As per tradition, Eurovision is hosted in the home country of the previous year’s winner. Twenty-six-year-old Netta Barzilai won last year, which is why the 2019 contest was scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv — the country’s second-most populated city.
Since the reveal, Israel has tried to use the hugely popular competition to present itself as a tolerant and cosmopolitan country that is winning increased acceptance on the world stage. But despite the country’s best branding efforts, the kitschy festival is clouded in political conflict and controversy.
Earlier this month, Palestinian militants bombarded southern Israel with hundreds of rockets during a bloody round of fighting, raising concerns that the contest could be disrupted by violence.
The Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel has been urging tourists and artists to stay home. Even an Israeli promotional video for the contest appears to have backfired, drawing accusations of anti-Semitism and misogyny.
Madonna first performed in Israel in 2009. Then, in 2012, She brought the MDNA tour — one of her biggest world tours yet — back to the country.
The pop sensation made it clear that she believes music and art should remain separate from politics.
“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,” she continued.
“I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”
The boycott movement reportedly accused Madonna of “art-washing,” urging her to cancel her appearance in an undisclosed statement.
Madame X will be released on June 14 through Interscope Records. It can now be preordered and saved through the official Madonna website.
Eurovision 2019 is set to take place this Saturday, May 18 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
—With files from the Associated Press