LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Pop superstar Madonna on Tuesday (May 14) explained her decision to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel this week, saying she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see "a new path towards peace".
She will make a guest appearance on Saturday (May 18) during the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv. The venue has prompted calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian activists who want companies, performers and governments to disengage from Israel.
The popular Eurovision competition features musicians from more than 40 nations and was watched last year by some 189 million viewers in around 50 European countries.
In her first comment on her decision to sing at the event, Madonna said she was a supporter of all human rights.
"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 in a statement to Reuters.
Israel is hosting the Eurovision contest after local singer Netta Barzilai won last year. The winning country customarily hosts the following year.
Madonna, 60, is expected to perform two songs in Tel Aviv, one from her upcoming Madame X album to be released in June.