Israel’s culture minister on Sunday slammed Madonna for her Eurovision performance in which two backup dancers were wearing jackets with Israeli and Palestinian flags.
Miri Regev, known for her controversial statements, told reporters Sunday before a cabinet meeting that Madonna’s performance in Tel Aviv “was an error,” adding: “politics and a cultural event should not be mixed, with all due respect to Madonna.”
The backup dancers with Israeli and Palestinian flags pinned on their backs could be seen while Madonna her new single at the contest. Depictions of Palestinian flags in Israel are highly controversial, given Israel’s decades-long occupation of the West Bank.
Regev also criticized KAN, Israel’s public broadcaster, for not preventing the gesture, though it wasn’t clear what could’ve been done. Eurovision’s organizers said: “this element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals and Madonna had been “advised as to the non-political nature of the event.”
Madonna later defended the performance on Twitter, sharing clips of the dancers and writing: “I am grateful for the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.