Did Pharrell really know what he signed up for by performing at an Israeli army fundraiser?

Nduta Waweru Nov 12, 2018 at 07:45am

November 12, 2018 at 07:45 am | News

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

November 12, 2018 at 07:45 am | News

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.

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