Stevie Wonder Cancels Israel Concert Over Public Pressure: ‘I Am and Have Always Been Against War’

Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform as a tribute to Dick Clark at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Music legend Stevie Wonder is calling off a concert for a group that raises money for the Israeli military, Reuters reports.

Wonder had been scheduled to perform on Dec. 6 for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which raises money for Israeli soldiers and their families, but canceled over public pressure and his position with the United Nations.

Apparently Wonder is an official “Messenger of Peace” for the global organization, and the U.N. suggested someone with such a title not support Israel’s military.  The United Nations overwhelmingly voted to recognize a Palestinian state on Thursday, though, over vehement U.S. and Israeli objections as hopes for Mideast peace talks stalled.

“Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala,” Wonder said in a statement to Reuters.

According to E Online, Wonder added:

“I am respectfully withdrawing my participation from this year’s event to avoid the appearance of partiality…As a Messenger of Peace, I am and have always been against war, any war, any where. In consistently keeping with my spirit of giving, I will make a personal contribution to organizations that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities.”

Reuters concludes:

According to a statement from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition that aims to change U.S. policy toward Palestine and Israel and support human rights and equality, Wonder’s decision came after a “growing outcry” from several organizations and three international signed petitions.

The protest is part of a “cultural boycott” led by organizations that oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.