Friends of the IDF Events Raises More Than $14 Million
Although famed singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder pulled out of a fundraiser sponsored by The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces that was held over the weekend, the event was successful. According to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, more than 1,400 people attended and the group raised over $14 million dollars.
While Wonder skipped out on the event, The JTA reports that actor Jason Alexander who played George Costanza on Seinfeld emceed it. He was joined by fellow stars Barbara Streisand and Canadian singer-songwriter David Foster.
According to the Friends of the IDF web site, the even was completely sold out and had already raised over $2 million before the first night started.
While Danielle Norwood of Liberation, which calls itself as the “newspaper of the party for socialism and liberation”, Wonder’s decision to withdraw from the event was hailed by Israeli BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) supporters as a major victory in its battle against Israel.
Indeed, according to The Times of Israel, Wonder had come under “intense social media pressure” to cancel his appearance at the event. Social Media fans weren’t the only people putting pressure on Wonder to cancel, however. Indeed, The Times reports that the United Nations also put pressure on the artist to withdraw, because of his involvement with it as a “messenger of peace.”
According to The Associated Press, wonder said that he was cancelling his appearance “with a heavy heart.” Wonder’s withdrawal was likely a disappointment to the Friends of the IDF and its supporters. Indeed, according to The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, a press release issued by the group’s director Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak Gershon, said, “We regret the fact that Stevie Wonder has decided to cancel his performance at an important community event of the FIDF, an American organization supporting the educational, cultural, and wellbeing needs of Israel’s soldiers, their families, and the families of fallen soldiers.”
FIDF officials did not, however, according to The Journal, condemn Wonder. However, it says, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel did condemn the BDS movement that took part in pressuring the artist, saying, “BDS is not about peace – it’s about vilifying Israel.”
Filed Under: Politics
About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda