The Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces “was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors to provide for the well being of the men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as the families of fallen soldiers.”
Stevie Wonder is a well respected artist, a man who has lived through the Civil Rights movement in America. So the question becomes whether Wonder should have added his name to the IDF event, given atrocities Israel has committed against the Palestinian people.
Here’s an excerpt from a Mother Jones interview with Israeli soldiers about the atrocities that they’ve committed while on patrol:
Mother Jones: What’s the procedure?
Israeli Soldier: Gather the family in a certain room, put a guard there, tell the guard to aim his gun at them, and then search the rest of the house. We got another order that everyone born after 1980… everyone between sixteen and twenty-nine, doesn’t matter who, bring them in cuffed and blindfolded. They yelled at old people, one of them had an epileptic seizure but they carried on yelling at him. Every house we went into, we brought everyone between sixteen and twenty-nine to the school. They sat tied up in the schoolyard.
And if Wonder wants to lend a helping hand to soldiers, there are many American soldiers who’ve returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and could use some help.
A Change.org petition has already been started to call on Stevie Wonder to withdraw from the IDF gala:
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.
Share with us your thoughts on Stevie Wonder performing at the gala. Should he have even accepted the invite?