Roger Waters urges Madonna to cancel Eurovision performance in Israel

Israel are set to host the singing competition after the country’s entry – Netta, with the song ‘Toy’ – won the 2018 edition

Clarisse Loughrey@clarisselou
Thursday 18 April 2019 07:48
Madonna announces new album Madame X

Roger Waters has penned an open letter to Madonna, urging her to cancel her performance at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

Israel are set to host the singing competition after the country’s entry – Netta, with the song “Toy” – won the 2018 edition.

The musician is set to perform two songs at this year’s event. Her performance allegedly cost $1m, with businessman Sylvan Adams – who has settled in Tel Aviv – footing the bill.

In a letter published in The Guardian, Waters wrote: “Some of my fellow musicians who have recently performed in Israel say they are doing it to build bridges and further the cause of peace. Bulls***.”

To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters... all that bad stuff.”

Waters was among a host of British cultural figures who signed an open letter asking the BBC to push Eurovision organisers into moving the competition from Israel.

“Eurovision may be light entertainment,” the letter read. ”But it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.”

Waters also said that accusations of antisemitism are ”a smokescreen to divert attention and discredit those who shine a light on Israel’s crimes against humanity.”

“I should point out that I support the fight for human rights for all oppressed peoples everywhere,” he added. “If I support the Rohingyas and deplore the Myanmar persecution of them, it doesn’t make me anti-Buddhist.”

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

He concluded: “I would urge all the young contestants – in fact all young people, in fact all people young and old alike, so that includes Madonna – to read the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It’s been translated into 500 languages so anyone can apprise themselves of its 30 articles. If we all abided by them we might yet save our beautiful planet from its imminent destruction.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events