Pharrell Williams criticised for singing ‘Happy’ to Israeli soldiers as part of army fundraiser


Pharrell Williams has been criticised on social media for performing in an annual fundraiser for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Organised by the New York-based Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, the November 1 gala saw the pop singer join fellow musician Ziggy Marley on stage, performing in front a crowd that included Israeli soldiers in uniform. A string of Hollywood stars, including Gerard Butler, Ashton Kutcher and The Nanny actress Fran Drescher, also attended the Los Angeles event, which raised a record $60 million (Dh220 million) for the IDF. Remember: 170 Palestinians have been killed in the past seven months. And in just one week in May of this year, 64 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers.

Williams took to the stage to perform his global hit Happy to a room full of Israeli soldiers and their supporters. This was only days after Williams tweeted to demand that US president Trump stop using the same song as part of his US mid-term election campaigning

The irony of him then performing it at the IDF fundraiser was not lost on those on social media, who went online to label his actions hypocritical.

Palestinian-American hip-hop producer Fredwreck – real name Faird Nassar – also called out Williams for his performance.

The US based think tank, The Institute for Middle Eastern Understanding also denounced the move, claiming it was contrary to the spirit of Williams’ song.

This is not the first time Palestinian activists have expressed their dismay at Williams. Hundreds of protestors from the South African chapter of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement demonstrated outside his Cape Town concert in 2015 over his plans to perform in Tel Aviv the following June. Williams eventually scrapped the date, citing a “scheduling conflict.

While none of the stars above posted their fundraiser appearance on their respective social media channels, news of their participation spread on social media, with fans immediately making their feelings known.

Butler, who recently starred in the crime caper Den of Thieves, has also been lambasted online, particularly from fellow fans of the Scottish football club Celtics – a team that has a long history of supporting Palestinian human rights and independence.



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