Stevie Wonder pulled out of a performance at a fundraiser for the Israel Defence Forces, a source told JTA.
Wonder’s representatives said that he did not know the nature of the group, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and that he believes such a performance would be incongruent with his status as a UN “Messenger of Peace,” according to a source who has read email exchanges between Wonder’s representatives and organizers of the event.
Wonder was scheduled to headline the Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. The event raises millions of dollars annually to support the Israeli military.
The head of the Friends of the IDF, Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Gershon expressed his regret that the Grammy-Award singer withdrew.
Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.
The petition was launched more than a day ago on the change.org website.
Wonder performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel’s 50th anniversary.