Madonna performed two songs at last night’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, during a politically tinged performance which saw two dancers with Palestinian and Israeli flags on their backs embrace.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of her 1989 album, Like A Prayer, Madonna began by performing a re-worked version of its title track atop a high, staircase stage surrounded by hooded dancers in monk-like outfits.
The Queen of Pop followed up with a short spoken segment, saying: “They are so naive – they think we are not aware of their crimes. We know, but we’re just not ready to act.
“The storm isn’t in the air, it’s inside of us. I want to tell you about love and loneliness. But it’s getting late now. Can’t you hear outside of your Supreme hoodie, the wind that’s beginning to howl?”
You can see images and watch footage from the performance here:
Madonna just used the biggest platform she has ever had, despite the biggest restrictions she’s had, to highlight the atrocities in Palestine and the need for Israelis and Palestinians to find a way to coexist to the biggest audience she has ever had. #Eurovision pic.twitter.com/WUCoVD3zDH
— A✌?? (@husseybyname) May 18, 2019
— Madonna (@Madonna) May 18, 2019
— ɢᴀᴠɪɴ ? (@gavinworby) May 18, 2019
— Gilgamesh (@RinoTheBouncer) May 18, 2019
— John Collier (@FriendsUnitedUK) May 18, 2019
— PeupleFrance® ?? (@justofly) May 18, 2019
— ❌ Chris Chandler ❌ (@amaterial_boi) May 18, 2019
Towards the end of her performance, Madonna added: “Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together” and urged people to “wake up” before two dancers, one wearing an Israeli flag, the other a Palestinian flag, briefly embraced.
Organisers for the event later responded to the performance’s political edge via a statement. It read: “In the live broadcast… two of Madonna’s dancers briefly displayed the Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits. This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared.
“…The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.”
Earlier this week, the singer addressed calls from protesters who have put pressure on her to pull out of the show. “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,” she said.
“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 terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”
Madonna also recently announced a string of London shows for 2020 – all of which will take place at the London Palladium.