Stevie Wonder has canceled his appearance at a pro-Israel gala to benefit IDF soldiers after the United Nations pressured the performer to withdraw, citing his affiliation with the organization.
Wonder, who was slated to headline the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) western region gala next month, announced his cancellation yesterday.
“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 National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon said in a statement. “FIDF is a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity.”
The event, which is slated to attract some 1,200 IDF supporters, is being chaired by Israeli businessman Haim Saban, and his wife, Cheryl.
Other celebrity appearances include Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, who will emcee the event, as well as a performance by David Foster and Friends.
In recent years, the FIDF gala dinners have raised some $10 million for Israel’s soldiers. The funds raised at this year’s event will go towards educational programs.
Wonder, whose best known songs include Superstition, Sir Duke, I Wish and I Just Called to Say I Love You, has been awarded more than 20 Grammy and Academy Awards.