Monday, December 03, 2012
Stevie Wonder Caves to Israel Boycott
Pop star stands on the “wrong side” of history -Rabbi Shraga Simmons
R&B sensation Stevie Wonder backed out of his commitment to perform at this week’s gala in Los Angeles to benefit the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Friends of the IDF is an independent, non-political, non-profit organization that provides assistance to wounded Israeli soldiers, scholarships for those from poor families, and summer camps for widows and orphans of those killed in the line of duty. Sounds like a wonderful humanitarian cause, right? Enter the BDS movement, whose sole purpose is to pressure entertainers and business people from having anything to do with the State of Israel.
In the case of Stevie Wonder, the pressure came in the form of an online petition that appealed on the basis of “humanitarian” grounds: Since Wonder opposed South African Apartheid, he must now oppose the IDF which, according to the petition, "promotes, enables, and protects Israel's Apartheid regime." It took only 3,600 signatures for Wonder to cancel his appearance, on the thin pretext that it somehow conflicted with his ceremonial role as a U.N. "Messenger of Peace.”
If Wonder was a true ambassador of peace, he would have stood firm in support of an organization dedicated to assisting injured personnel and bereaved families.
Though Friends of the IDF has no connection to military activities, the media once again got the story wrong, posting headlines such as “Stevie Wonder Cancels Gig for Israeli Military” (The Times of London) and the widely circulated Associated Press report declaring that Wonder called off a concert “for a group that raises money for the Israeli military.”