Dear Friends and Comrades,

After calls by members of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel movement together with thousands of other peace-loving people from around the world, renowned music legend and civil rights leader, Stevie Wonder, has cancelled his scheduled performance at a benefit gala for the Israeli military. Wonder said:
"[W]ith a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the Israeli Defense Force Gala on December 6th.  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, anywhere.  Hoping for one world, one people, one day."
- Stevie Wonder
According to the Associated Press, a contact at the United Nations recommended the canceling of Wonder's performance because he is an official "Messenger of Peace" for the UN. The twenty-two time Grammy Award winning singer, whose hits include "Isn't she lovely" and "I just called to say I love you", was scheduled to sing at a December 6th fundraising gala in Los Angeles hosted by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), a funding organization set up to sponsor Israelis serving in the Israel Defense Force.

As South Africans we salute Stevie Wonder's decision and hope that it will affirm other artists who are called on to respect the cultural boycott of Israel. Stevie Wonder has --consistently-- chosen the right side of history. As many of us remember, he  publicly turned down a lucrative offer during the 1980s to perform in apartheid South Africa. Stevie Wonder refused to entertain Apartheid South Africa, and he now refuses to entertain Israeli Apartheid. He has, and is, setting an example for all artists to follow! Click here to thank Stevie Wonder:
UN VOTE ON PALESTINE STATUS - US isolated, France threatens sanctions against Israel

The news of Stevie Wonder's principled cancellation comes on the back of the United Nations vote to successfully upgrade the status and recognition of Palestine at the UN. The Palestinian vote was overwhelmingly supported by over 130 countries, including South Africa. The only countries to have voted against were Israel, the US, 3 US "territories" (the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau) and 4 others.

In population terms, those who opposed the Palestinian UN status bid represent approximately 5% of the world’s population.  On the issue of Palestine, the US has for years been blocking any progress and is totally divorced and isolated from the consensus of the international community. In fact, the US is the most frequent user of the UN veto: it has used its veto power over 40 times to defend Israel. As South Africans, we painfully recall how the US used its veto power to defend Apartheid South Africa, particularly from UN resolutions imposing economic and military sanctions. The US has now definitively distanced itself from the international community's support of the Palestinian right to self determination and has disqualified itself as a meaningful negotiator.
In response to the UN vote to upgrade the status and recognition of Palestine, Israel has punitively:
a) Confiscated over $120 million worth of funds that were due to the Palestinians; 
b) Announced the building of 3000 more illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlement units on Palestinian land (including in the prohibited E1 area); and,
c) Revoked the travel passes of Palestinian leaders, including Fatah’s International Relations commissioner, Nabil Sha'ath.
Subsequently, in protest against Israel's disregard of the UN and its violation of international law (by announcing the building of 3000 illegal settlement units), the UK, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors and the French President, Francois Hollande, has even threatened to impose --unprecedented-- sanctions against Israel.
The legal, moral, ethical and consistent thing for South Africa to do, as a first step, is end all relations and trade with companies operating in and products from the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is not a complete BDS position (a boycott of all Israeli companies and products) but would be a first step in line with the position of Fatah (see:, the PLO (see:, PA (see:, the Non-Aligned Movement (see: and a recent UN report (see: A ban, in the very least, of all Israeli settlement products and companies with immediate effect!
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