Madonna Wishy-Washes Apartheid Israel at Eurovision

Art-washing is a PR tactic that uses famous artists in ways that divert attention away from bad behavior. An ad designer who combines a Monet water lily image with an oil company logo is one way.

Recruiting an international pop icon like Madonna to sing at a music festival in the creepy political climate of Tel Aviv is another. Zionists uncomfortable with the growing Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement (BDS) are always on the prowl for a new gimmick that will put a fun or progressive face on their deplorable government.

In the past, Israeli apologists have tried redirecting calls to restore Palestinian human rights by pointing to the gay-friendliness of Israel. This is called pink-washing. Others have suggested that treating Palestinians like second-class citizens is all right because of the disproportionate number of contributions Jews have made to the worlds of art and science. A rationale that seeks to justify one group mistreating another group because the former has had more of an opportunity to develop innovative ideas. This is a form of white-washing.

Last year Israeli Netta Barzilai won The Eurovision Song Contest. Her win meant Israel would not only get to host the world famous festival in 2019, it also might have a chance to spruce up Israel’s image for major print media and a wide audience of television viewers.

And who better than Madonna “The Queen of Pop” to put on the dog and send a global message that it’s OK to play apartheid Israel? Everyone already knew she’s a mega-star with a history of doing outlandish things — what would the surprises be on stage? Surely curiosities like these would help distract music fans and others from thinking about the unlawful and shitty things the Israeli government does to Palestinians. Promotors needed someone with her star power to stand up to BDS so they bet heavy on her persona and offered her a million bucks to sing a couple songs. 

Madonna isn’t just a performer, she’s also a shrewd business woman and advocate/student of the Kabballah (a form ofJewish mysticism). Although she doesn’t consider herself Jewish, she observes Shabbat and had a bar mitzvah for her son. Sometimes she’ll wear a Star of David or, a cross if she’s feeling sentimental about Jesus getting nailed to one. Other times she might put on a Moroccan Berber head dress and mix and match ethic jewelry.

Being hard to pin down is one of her strong suits. When fans thought she was through acting out sexually on stage, she offered to give anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton a blowjob in 2016. A while later, she was off on a pilgrimage to visit the tomb of a Sufi mystic in Turkey. Who knows what she’ll do next — keep ‘em guessing is her modus opperandi.

She’s super rich too. Guinness World Records has her as best-selling female artist of all time after selling 300 million records. Plus she’s the richest female singer in the world worth 800 million dollars. Lady Gaga comes in tenth with 275.

With money like that, Madonna the “material girl” and seeker-of-esoteric-wisdom, can be as spiritually eccentric as she wants. Spending 10 thousand dollars a month on Kabballah Water or throwing a Kabballah cocktail party at one of her lavish homes in New York, Beverly Hills, London or Tel Aviv is within her budget. It’s rumored she once tried filling up a house radiator system and swimming pool with the blessed 5 dollar a bottle water.

Given this level of notoriety, her audience was no doubt on tenterhooks wondering what her show would be like on closing night. She did tell Reuters “I’ll never stop playing playing music to fit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.” Eurovision has a policy that prohibits performers from making political statements on stage. What would she do?

Her singing performance received mixed reviews, but she stumbled when it came to honoring her own pledge about speaking out against human rights violations. Her act that included a pair of hand-holding dancers briefly walking around wearing a Palestinian or Israeli flag didn’t add up to much. It said virtually nothing about war torn Palestinians who have been denied human rights for over 5O years.

So Madonna, pick up your million bucks at the office and hit the road. Don’t forget your costume eye-patch and 5 dollar bottle of water. And good luck in Kabballah school – maybe you’ll graduate after finding out life is a lot more than esoteric insights. You’re headed toward pop icon history now, but sitting on the fence and remaining wish-washy about human rights, puts you on the wrong side of it.

Craig Wood is a member of Veterans For Peace and former South Minneapolis newspaper writer Read other articles by Craig.