Dancers performed during Madonna's guest appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest [EPA]
Dancers performed during Madonna’s guest appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest [EPA]

Madonna’s anticipated guest performance during the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel sparked controversy in the final moments of the show. 

The star appeared on Saturday draped in a black cape and a black eye-patch during her performance of 1989 hit “Like A Prayer,” and new single “Future”.

At the close of her second number, two backing dancers each wearing a respective flag from Israeland Palestine, walked arm in arm, in an act that was perceived as a political statement on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. 

The performance also saw dancers falling to the ground while wearing gas masks, and concluded with Madonna and the US rapper Quavo walking together as the words “wake up” appeared behind them. 

The European Broadcasting Union, which co-produced the contest alongside Israel’s national broadcaster, issued a statement immediately after. 

“This element of the performance was not cleared with the EBU and the Host Broadcaster, KAN. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this,” it said.

Madonna performs during a guest appearance at the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest [Reuters] 

The 60-year-old singer’s participation in the event brought protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement earlier. 

BDS has for years been pushing for investors and artists to shun Israel over its decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories, and led calls for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision, calling it an “art-wash”.

She defended her decision, issuing a statement earlier in the week saying that she would always speak up to defend human rights, and that she hoped to see “a new path toward peace”.

After her performance some condemned her decision to make a statement, while others praised her for using her platform to make a point.

Read full article at AlJazeera