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Stevie Wonder, Peace Activist, To Fundraise for the IDF

Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:20 By Shirin Sadeghi, SpeakOut | Report

In 1992, Stevie Wonder, long a civil rights activist and defender of the rights of all humans, released a song called "It's Wrong" about the Apartheid regime of South Africa.

The lyrics were explicit in their condemnation of the "atrocities" of Apartheid as "people abusing" and "oppression".

Stevie was even arrested on Valentine's Day 1985 for protesting against Apartheid outside the Washington DC embassy of South Africa.

His activism against Apartheid -- the South African regime's policy of segregation of native Africans and their colonial rulers originating from Holland -- makes his current position on Palestine curious, to say the least.

You see, Stevie has been announced as the lead performer at the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force (FIDF) annual fundraising gala in Los Angeles on December 6th. Many people consider the Israeli occupation of Palestine the new Apartheid -- a system wherein the Israeli government segregates the Palestinian population from the Jewish population.

Not surprisingly, the announcement has many Stevie supporters wondering how he can reconcile his opposition to the segregation of Black South Africans under Apartheid with his support of the Israeli Defense Force and their policy of discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

How can Stevie Wonder be against Apartheid but for Israeli occupation? 

"Of all people, to support of all things. How painfully disappointing", one Twitter user (@volksmenner) wrote upon hearing the announcement.

"This coming from the man who was arrested protesting apartheid. I guess morality loses 2 the dollar", wrote another Twitterer (@THShaaban).

Other Twitterers pointed out their confusion about a high profile African American civil rights activist supporting the segregation policies of the state of Israel.

"Sorry, Stevie Wonder, I love you forever, but you're helping oppressors. gotta protest you. :(", wrote another twitterer.

"Stevie Wonder should know better. Black people have no business raising money for Israel. This is disturbingly ironic," wrote user @BlackAcrylic.

Stevie's participation in a fundraiser for a military force is particularly ironic considering he just performed at the United Nations Day Concert for Peace in October.

In fact, he is a UN Messenger of Peace. The UN described their messenger in a press release as a "pivotal" activist for peace and "humanitarian issues", including "disabilities, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hunger and homelessness, domestic abuse and many other causes." He is even mentioned as having "spearheaded a [1983] campaign to make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday in the United States."

Guess Stevie didn't know that Martin Luther King Jr. was a fierce opponent of the Vietnam War and war in general, when he signed up to raise money for a war, and specifically for a military whose war-time practices have been cited as war crimes.

So Stevie Wonder, an activist against state-sponsored segregation and a messenger of peace, has signed up to help raise funds for the warriors of a state that sponsors segregationist policies. 

How times have changed. 

The FIDF annual gala typically raises millions of dollars in one night for the benefit of the Israeli military force. This year's gala comes on the heels of the recent Israeli-Gaza clash for which a ceasefire was implemented just days ago. This latest conflict caused the deaths of an estimated 166 Palestinians (including women, children, and infants), with thousands more injured, and 6 Israeli deaths, with hundreds injured, in just eight days of fighting.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Shirin Sadeghi

Shirin Sadeghi is an independent journalist and Middle East specialist with an emphasis on Iran, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf countries. Her other specialties are minorities in the United States and comparative media analysis. Her broadcast career began as a producer and reporter for the BBC World Service and later as a producer and reporter for Al Jazeera. She has a PhD in Middle Eastern studies. Find Sadeghi on Twitter @ShirinSadeghi.


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Stevie Wonder, Peace Activist, To Fundraise for the IDF

Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:20 By Shirin Sadeghi, SpeakOut | Report

In 1992, Stevie Wonder, long a civil rights activist and defender of the rights of all humans, released a song called "It's Wrong" about the Apartheid regime of South Africa.

The lyrics were explicit in their condemnation of the "atrocities" of Apartheid as "people abusing" and "oppression".

Stevie was even arrested on Valentine's Day 1985 for protesting against Apartheid outside the Washington DC embassy of South Africa.

His activism against Apartheid -- the South African regime's policy of segregation of native Africans and their colonial rulers originating from Holland -- makes his current position on Palestine curious, to say the least.

You see, Stevie has been announced as the lead performer at the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force (FIDF) annual fundraising gala in Los Angeles on December 6th. Many people consider the Israeli occupation of Palestine the new Apartheid -- a system wherein the Israeli government segregates the Palestinian population from the Jewish population.

Not surprisingly, the announcement has many Stevie supporters wondering how he can reconcile his opposition to the segregation of Black South Africans under Apartheid with his support of the Israeli Defense Force and their policy of discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

How can Stevie Wonder be against Apartheid but for Israeli occupation? 

"Of all people, to support of all things. How painfully disappointing", one Twitter user (@volksmenner) wrote upon hearing the announcement.

"This coming from the man who was arrested protesting apartheid. I guess morality loses 2 the dollar", wrote another Twitterer (@THShaaban).

Other Twitterers pointed out their confusion about a high profile African American civil rights activist supporting the segregation policies of the state of Israel.

"Sorry, Stevie Wonder, I love you forever, but you're helping oppressors. gotta protest you. :(", wrote another twitterer.

"Stevie Wonder should know better. Black people have no business raising money for Israel. This is disturbingly ironic," wrote user @BlackAcrylic.

Stevie's participation in a fundraiser for a military force is particularly ironic considering he just performed at the United Nations Day Concert for Peace in October.

In fact, he is a UN Messenger of Peace. The UN described their messenger in a press release as a "pivotal" activist for peace and "humanitarian issues", including "disabilities, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hunger and homelessness, domestic abuse and many other causes." He is even mentioned as having "spearheaded a [1983] campaign to make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday in the United States."

Guess Stevie didn't know that Martin Luther King Jr. was a fierce opponent of the Vietnam War and war in general, when he signed up to raise money for a war, and specifically for a military whose war-time practices have been cited as war crimes.

So Stevie Wonder, an activist against state-sponsored segregation and a messenger of peace, has signed up to help raise funds for the warriors of a state that sponsors segregationist policies. 

How times have changed. 

The FIDF annual gala typically raises millions of dollars in one night for the benefit of the Israeli military force. This year's gala comes on the heels of the recent Israeli-Gaza clash for which a ceasefire was implemented just days ago. This latest conflict caused the deaths of an estimated 166 Palestinians (including women, children, and infants), with thousands more injured, and 6 Israeli deaths, with hundreds injured, in just eight days of fighting.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Shirin Sadeghi

Shirin Sadeghi is an independent journalist and Middle East specialist with an emphasis on Iran, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf countries. Her other specialties are minorities in the United States and comparative media analysis. Her broadcast career began as a producer and reporter for the BBC World Service and later as a producer and reporter for Al Jazeera. She has a PhD in Middle Eastern studies. Find Sadeghi on Twitter @ShirinSadeghi.


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