Pop superstar Madonna today explained her decision to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel this week, saying that she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see "a new path toward peace", Reuters reported.
Madonna will make a guest appearance on Saturday during the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv. The venue has prompted calls for a boycott by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement who want companies, performers and governments to disengage from Israel.
Eurovision 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," the singer said in a statement.
"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," she added.
The singer's Ray of Light foundation, which promotes social justice and women's empowerment worldwide, supports a number of Palestinian projects.
They include funding teachers' salaries at schools in the Gaza Strip through the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency UNRWA and micro loans to female farmers through the Palestine Fair Trade Association.