On November 1, 2018, a group of people came together at a gala in Beverly Hills. They were there for one thing: fundraising for the Israeli Defense Forces.
Organised by Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces, it brought together politicians, singers, business people and top Hollywood stars including Ashton Kutcher, Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia, singer Seal and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Over $60 billion was raised at the gala, whose main performer was none other than, Pharrell Williams, the musician who considers himself an activist beyond his music.
He took to the stage and before performing his song, Happy, Williams had a few words about the recent shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“Look, what happened in that synagogue was incredibly cruel, it was wrong, and it’s not supposed to be what our nation is,” Williams said. “This group of people have been tested over and over and over again … but you guys show an incredible resilience.”
The performance and the fundraiser have come under criticism at a time when Israel Defence Force is carrying out attacks on Palestinians leading to deaths and gross violation of human rights. The most recent news report indicates that seven Palestinians in Gaza were killed early Monday morning by Israeli forces.
Israel has also been known to be anti-African kicking out asylum seekers from the country or instituting policies that make their life even harder, including seizing wages from Africans to compel them to exit Israel.
Many people are now wondering how Pharrell, who has for the longest time painted himself as an advocate for change, ended up performing at such a gala. The same Pharrell had sent a cease and desist letter to U.S. President Donald Trump to stop him from using his song ‘Happy’ at his rallies.
It is however not the first time for the award-winning musician to be called out for his pro-Israeli support. In 2015, he came under fire for collaborating with South Africa’s Woolworths, which had been importing goods from Israel. Hundreds of people protested against him during his concert in Cape Town.
Here are reactions from social media:
Dear @Pharrell, you contributed in raising $60 million to a nasty army that has killed hundreds of thousands of my people. Is this the change you want in the world? You’re a partner in crime. #HollywoodFundsTerror pic.twitter.com/hbPuWEmWag
— Palestinian speakers (@Palestinianspe1) November 7, 2018
One has to wonder why Hollywood personalities are supporting the IDF foreign army other than the US army. If they really believed in the IDF’s activities, including policing and controlling Pals, they should be serving in the IDF, but isn’t that contrary to US law? Very strange!
— George Jacoby (@GeorgeJacoby1) November 12, 2018
Pharrell invented a new level of irony after he told Trump to stop playing Happy at his rallies and then performed it at an IDF fundraiser https://t.co/8vKURQMtnD
— Henny Hval (@kaylajea) November 8, 2018
Dear @Pharrell Are you happy supporting killers? killing hundreds each day in Palestine and then running to Hollywood asking for money? Next time think before you spend your money #HollywoodFundsTerror pic.twitter.com/DQCf6XMBeT
— Sara (@Sarapal101) November 7, 2018
You support israeli terrorism. Shame on you. pic.twitter.com/ad7pJgh3dj
— Aldair (@AldairZ7) November 10, 2018
Just to remind you all @Pharrell performed at a party raising money for the IDF just days before it bombed Gaza.
— FRENCH CANADIAN MONTANA (@TheNarcicyst) November 12, 2018
— Dermot (@dermotdeludedix) November 12, 2018
— Ahmad AlShdefat (@AhmadAlShdefat) November 9, 2018
@Pharrell Israel is a criminal apartheid state (similar to the Apartheid governments of South Africa – which Israel historically supported), you supporting them as an African American is a disgrace
— أحمد فهد الشكَرة Ahmad Fahad Al-Shagra (@afahad) November 5, 2018
— ❤️4 #Palestine?? (@dinjarie) November 7, 2018
— Tamara Nassar (@TamaraINassar) November 7, 2018
This ain’t it, chief. The days of pretending that music is separate from politics are long over. Israel is forcing the Palestinian people to live under apartheid, you have to know this.
— Guillotines N’ Roses (Taheerah Barney)? (@fleshandbrand) November 11, 2018