As of today (Nov. 29) singer Stevie Wonder has reportedly pulled out of performing at a fundraiser for the Israeli Defense Force set for December 6. Wonder’s representatives deluged by emails from from Change,org claims 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 and the organizers.
The petition (http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/stevie-wonder-don-t-play-at-the-idf-gala-fundraiser-in-la-on-dec-6th in part read:
We call on Stevie Wonder, as a conscientious American advocate for human rights and dignity not to support the Israeli Defense Force by performing at their gala fundraiser. In the face of over 60 years of Israeli colonization of Palestinian land and the disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people and in the wake of Israel’s latest violent aggression against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip– we ask you NOT to support the IDF. The IDF is an institution which promotes, enables, and protects Israel’s Apartheid regime.
Fans reminded Wonder:“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.”
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation http://http://www.endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=422 cheekily asked Wonder Don’t Be a Part-Time Lover of Justice!
Many of us remember in the dark days of the campaigb to end South African apartheid Ray Charles chose to take the money and run. Given the nature and ubiquity of the internet artists can no loger hide.They will be legitimately called out as jazz pianist Chick Corea was. JAzz FM’s CEO Ross Porter was challenged as well when he went to Israel on a jazz junket.
Israelis of conscience also contacted Wonder:
We are a group of Israeli citizens, who have the utmost respect for your musical and humanitarian contributions to our world. We were quite surprised, even shocked, to learn of your upcoming performance for Friends of the IDF (FIDF). We would like to share our concerns with you, and urge you to reconsider your acceptance of the FIDF invitation.
As an anti-apartheid activist in the several decades ago, you championed a cause which is, in fact, our cause nowadays. As Jewish Israelis, we are privileged citizens in a country which is ethnocratic to its core. Millions of human beings, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, are living under a violent, military occupation enforced by the Israeli army (IDF). The occupation is so discriminatory that even these Palestinians may be stopped, arrested and abused if they board a bus from the occupied West Bank to Tel Aviv, simply for exercising their right to free travel — as happened to the Palestinian Freedom Riders exactly one year ago. (Source: Israel arrests “Freedom Riders” challenging apartheid road system)
Many artists today (Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana etc) are getting the message that jsutice and the IDF can not co-exist.