Report: Stevie Wonder pulls out of IDF fundraiser after BDS activists wage campaign

on 16 Comments

World famous singer Stevie Wonder has reportedly pulled out of performing at a fundraiser for the Israeli army that was scheduled to take place December 6, according to one anonymous source who spoke with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Here’s the news outlet’s report:

Stevie Wonder is set to pull out of a performance at a fundraiser for the Israel Defense Forces, a source told JTA.

Wonder’s representatives will claim that he did not know the nature of the group, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and that he believes such a performance would be incongruent with his status as a U.N. “Messenger of Peace,” according to a source who has read email exchanges between Wonder’s representatives and organizers of the event.

Wonder was scheduled to headline the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. The event raises millions of dollars annually to support the Israeli military…

Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.

The petition was launched more than a day ago on the website.

“You were arrested in 1985 protesting South African Apartheid, now we ask you: please remember that apartheid is apartheid, whether it comes from White Afrikaaner settlers of South Africa or from Jewish Israelis in Israel,” the petition reads. “Desmond Tutu has recognized that Israel’s Apartheid is worse than South Africa’s — will you stand with us against apartheid and cancel your performance at the IDF fundraiser.”

A second petition, launched by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, calls on Wonder to “(p)lease continue your legacy of speaking out for the oppressed. Please be a ‘full-time lover’ of justice by standing on the right side of history and canceling your performance for the Israeli army.”

Wonder performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel’s 50th anniversary.

As of this writing, the petition calling for Wonder to pull out had garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (USACBI) had called for a social media campaign to pressure Wonder.

But USACBI is not yet declaring victory. “We are still keeping the pressure going, not enough to hear from JTA that a source said he is set to pull out,” a Twitter message read.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has also been throwing its weight behind the effort. They set up a Stevie Wonder campaign clearing house of sorts on their website, with letters from Israeli and Palestinian citizens urging Wonder not to play. And a separate petition set up by the US Campaign has garnered over 4,000 signatures.

For more on the campaign to get Wonder to pull out, read Alexander Billet’s Electronic Intifada post.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

16 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    November 28, 2012, 8:46 pm

    amazing that Wonder did not know who the group was. All right Stevie Wonder..a man of substance and integrity. Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi would be proud of you.

    • W.Jones
      November 29, 2012, 1:42 pm

      “Wonder’s representatives will claim that he did not know the nature of the group, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces


  2. RoHa
    November 28, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Good. But it doesn’t change my opinion. Most of his songs and all his singing are rubbish.

  3. Mndwss
    November 28, 2012, 9:19 pm

    This made me think about Sun City with Steven Van Zandt. And i found the the video on YouTube:

    I like the highest rated comment for the video:

    “Shame no one in the recording industry has the guts to stand up for the Palestinians like this.


    Stevie Wonder should record a song called: I AIN’T GONNA PLAY FOR SUPPORTERS OF WAR CRIMINALS!

  4. piotr
    November 28, 2012, 9:30 pm

    Wonders never cease.

    I am getting impression that “Pillar of Cloud” somehow changes the mood and trends more than “Cast Lead”.

    If the pull out of Steve Wonder will be confirmed, this will be one more example that Israel, after experiencing “the benefit of the doubt” for so long, and after exploring for so many years what it can get away with, suddenly is seen as it really is.

    • seafoid
      November 29, 2012, 4:15 am

      Pillar of Cloud could have been a Mariah Carey song

      “You lift me up like a Pillar of Cloud”

      it could have been really catchy

    • OlegR
      November 29, 2012, 4:25 am

      What no Stevie Wonder in an American fundraiser ?
      Well i guess we are done for ,
      i’ll go pack my staff and head for the Ukrainian
      consulate to ask for citizenship.

      • Sumud
        November 29, 2012, 5:39 am

        “What, me worry?” says the frog in the kettle.

      • Boston
        November 29, 2012, 8:06 am

        This is how the beginning of the end of apartheid looked for South Africa.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2012, 1:47 pm


        I’m curious. What is the closest thing to Friends of the IDF in Ukraine?

  5. sardelapasti
    November 28, 2012, 9:32 pm

    “Friends of the Israel Destruction Forces”… in LA!
    Aren’t we lucky we are in the US?
    In most countries, collecting funds for a foreign military organization would be punishable by very stiff prison terms.
    In fact, it is so already in the US too, where material support to terrorist organizations is supposed to be severely punished.
    Where is our lobbying?

    • Citizen
      November 29, 2012, 8:26 am

      @ sardelapastiti

      Why are donations to the FIDF tax deductible? How about donating to US veterans; in case these donors haven’t heard, they are not doing so well.

  6. bangpound
    November 28, 2012, 10:02 pm

    I wonder if this is the same Friends of the IDF group whose members in 2012 won award totaling $1.6 million in discrimination case against Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica.

    This story dates back to two years before, to July 11, 2010, when the plaintiffs, most of them affiliated with the Young Leadership Division of the local chapter of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), all attended a pool party organized by the group at the Shangri-La.

    The group had made arrangements for the event through an event promoter, Scott Paletz, who had been bringing people to the hotel’s rooftop restaurant since March of that year. Starting at 11 a.m. on that Sunday, the FIDF group had been allotted a cordoned-off area on the pool’s deck, where members had installed a pair of banners announcing their presence. At a check-in table in the courtyard, a blue shirt was displayed with the word “Legacy,” the FIDF program the group was fundraising for that day. It’s a program that brings the young relatives of Israeli soldiers killed in the line of duty for a month-long stay at a summer camp in the U.S.

    Adaya, 48, a Pakistani-born Muslim, was also at the pool that day, there to watch the World Cup final game in her cabana. After examining some of the FIDF group’s promotional literature, Adaya instructed members of her staff to take a number of actions against the group — including forcing the FIDF group to take down its banners, literature and other evidence of the organization’s presence. Many of the plaintiffs testified to seeing hotel security guards inform some of the FIDF guests, all easily identified by the blue promotional wristbands they were wearing, that they were not allowed to swim in the pool, or even dangle their feet into the water. The plaintiffs also alleged they heard from a hotel employee that Adaya had made comments about wanting to remove “the [expletive] Jews” from the hotel or the pool.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    November 28, 2012, 10:16 pm

    ● RE: “A second petition, launched by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, calls on Wonder to “(p)lease continue your legacy of speaking out for the oppressed. Please be a ‘full-time lover’ of justice by standing on the right side of history and canceling your performance for the Israeli army.” ~ from above

    FROM U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:
    TAKE ACTION! Tell Stevie, Occupation is Nothing to Sing For!
    Sign this petition!
    Stevie, We Are the World… Asking You to Cancel Your Date With the Israeli Army!

  8. irmep
    November 29, 2012, 3:59 pm

    If it’s raw talent they need for entertainment, what could possibly beat an appearance by the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers? Bet Saban could get them….or maybe the mighty morphin Neocons…

Leave a Reply