Stevie Wonder has pulled out of a planned headlining performance at the annual gala hosted by the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF), which is scheduled for this Thursday in Los Angeles. Word of the Motown legend's cancellation comes after an outcry from pro-Palestinian activist groups that complained about Wonder being involved in an event that, in effect, supports the Israeli military.
The FIDF confirmed on Thursday that the singer wasn't going to appear at the gala. According to a statement from the organization, Wonder's representatives explained that his decision to nix his performance came after the United Nations recommended he do so taking into account his relationship with the U.N. Stevie was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace in 2009.
"We regret the fact that Stevie Wonder has decided to cancel his performance at an important community event of the FIDF," Yitzhak Gershon, the group's CEO, said in the statement. He went on to describe the FIDF as "an American organization supporting the educational, cultural and well-being needs of Israel's soldiers, their families, and the families of fallen soldiers.
He added, "FIDF is a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity."
The fundraiser, which will take place at L.A.'s Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, is still scheduled to include a performance by veteran pop producer and composer David Foster. Seinfeld star Jason Alexander will emcee the event.
Last year, Barbra Streisand was the star performer at the gala.
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