The Zionist Organization of America has issued a statement criticizing Stevie Wonder for pulling out of a scheduled performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) December 6 gala in Los Angeles. The IDF said the reasoning behind Wonder’s withdrawal from the event was due to “a recommendation from the United Nations to withdraw” because of Wonder’s role as a UN “Messenger of Peace.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We deeply regret and are critical of the fact that Stevie Wonder has bowed to pressure and cancelled his performance at the FIDF gala.
“The intention of those who pressured Stevie Wonder into withdrawing from this event was to cause an impression to form that the IDF, being the army of Israel, is ipso facto an inappropriate organization on whose behalf an artist should appear. It suggests that Israel is in its essence anti-peace.”
Several other anti-Israel organizations, as well as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, had called on the star musician to back out of the performance.
The National Director and CEO of the FIDF, Major-General (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) 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 is a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity.”