On October 4 1993, Madonna performed The Girlie Show in Israel, despite protests by Jewish groups to cancel her show. The sold-out concert was performed at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, in front of 80,000 adoring fans.
On July 2 1990, Roman Catholic groups condemned Madonna’s Blond Ambition concert as blasphemous due to her controversial show’s sex and religious themes and planned to cancel her concerts in Rome and Turin.
Madonna made this speech in response to the threats:
I am an ltalian-American, and I am proud of it.
Proud of being an American because it is the country I grew up in, the country that gave me the opportunities to be who I am today and a country that believes in freedom of speech and artistic expression.
My show is not a conventional rock show but a theatrical presentation of my music.
And, like theatre it asks questions, provokes thought and takes you on an emotional journey.
Portraying good and bad, light and dark, joy and sorrow, redemption and salvation.
I do not endorse a way of life but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments.
This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
Every night, before I go onstage, I say a prayer not only that my show will go well but that the audience will watch with an open heart and an open mind and see it as a celebration of love, life and humanity.
*This is an edited transcript of the speech. The full speech is included in the video posted above.