Dec 06 2012
Israel is moving forward with its plan to build 3000 illegal new settlements in the West Bank despite international condemnation coming even from some of its staunchest allies. The move was announced on the same day that a majority of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of granting Palestinians non-member observer status.
Also on the same day, 22 time Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder announced his withdrawal from a concert happening this evening organized by Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces in Los Angeles. Wonder was the target of an online petition that garnered thousands of signatures urging him to recall his protest of South Africa’s apartheid regime in the 80s. The Change.org petition stated, “please remember that apartheid is apartheid, whether it comes from White Afrikaaner settlers of South Africa or from Jewish Israelis in Israel.”
Stevie Wonder was appointed a “UN Messenger of Peace” in 2009 and that UN connection was cited as the reason for his cancellation. However, assuming that he responded to the petition, Wonder joins a growing list of celebrities that have essentially participated in an on-going cultural boycott of Israel based on its policies toward Palestinians. They include: Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Gil-Scott Heron, Annie Lenox, Dustin Hoffman, Meg Ryan, Jon Bon Jovi, and Lady Smith Black Mambazo.
The Friends of Israel Defense Forces of FDIF, bills itself as “a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity.” Their annual gala event in LA is one of the largest Israel-related fundraisers in the US. Over a thousand protesters are expected to gather outside that event this evening.
GUEST: Miko Peled, peace activist and author of The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.
WHEN: Thursday, Dec 6, 2012, 4:30 PM PT
WHERE: In Front of the Hyatt Century Plaza (2025 Ave. of the Stars, L.A. 90067)
WHAT: Press Conference, followed by mock funeral, protest, and rally, as gala attendees arrive
WHO: Speakers Miko Peled, son of Israeli General Matti Peled and author of “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”, Shakeel Syed, Steering Committee member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and Huda Bayaa of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund*and Occupy Whittier. PRESSER EMCEE: Jim Lafferty, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild of LA.
VISUALS: Mock funeral procession, with child’s casket, 170 placards worn by participants, bearing the names and ages of IDF’s “Operation Pillar of Defense” victims.