Stevie Wonder is no longer scheduled to perform in a fundraiser benefitting Israeli soldiers. The artist, who has served as United Nations' Messenger of Peace since 2009, pulls out of the scheduled gig after being criticized by several organizations including the U.N.
"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," the singer says in statement to Reuters. "I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere."
Stevie was originally set to perform on December 6 at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles during a gala hosted by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). Award-winning composer David Foster is still scheduled to perform with "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander as a host.
"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," said CEO Yitzhak Gershon.
He added, "FIDF is a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity."
Stevie has been criticized by peace makers around the world after it was confirmed that he would perform at the fundraising gala. A petition posted on change.org addressed to him read, "You were arrested in 1985 protesting South African Apartheid, now we ask you: please remember that apartheid is apartheid, whether it comes from White Afrikaaner settlers of South Africa or from Jewish Israelis in Israel."
It continued, "Desmond Tutu has recognized that Israel's Apartheid is worse than South Africa's -- will you stand with us against apartheid and cancel your performance at the IDF fundraiser."
Instead of taking part in the event, Stevie who once performed in a celebratory event of Israel's 50th anniversary vows to support organizations that benefit disabled children in Israel and Palestine.