Los Angeles: Singer Pharrell Williams has been bombarded with furious social media messages after performing at a benefit gig for Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) personnel.
Williams joined stars including Ashton Kutcher, Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia and Ziggy Marley at the Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton hotel in California earlier this month.
The attendees raised $60 million for IDF soldiers, the families of fallen Israeli service people and wounded veterans, reports aceshowbiz.com.
At the event, Williams performed his hit number “Happy” and gave a speech calling for an end to fighting and remembered the victims of last month’s attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but his presence has angered activists who object to the IDF’s actions in the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict.
“Dear Pharrell, you contributed in raising $60 million to a nasty army that has killed hundreds of thousands of my people,” one Palestinian campaigner wrote on Twitter.
Others accused him of hypocrisy, as he has tried to ban US President Donald Trump from playing ‘Happy’ at rallies, and the responses to a tweet he posted on Monday, November 12, contained a barrage of abusive messages.
Palestinian-American hip-hop producer Fredwreck also slammed the 45-year-old singer, tweeting: “To my friend Pharrell you performed for the IDF who murdered 252 Palestinians (49 children) this year protesting for their rights against being occupied. And you sing “Happy” to them?! What a shame.”
Ahmed Abu Artema, a writer and activist who has led protests in Gaza in the Israeli-occupied territories, told the Middle East Eye website that gala attendees had “blood on their hands” for helping raise money for the IDF.
Stars including Lorde and Lana Del Rey have previously pulled out of gigs in Israel following pressure from activists.
Tensions in the region are high as this week (ending November 18) Hamas militants have bombarded the Jewish state with rockets, causing Israeli officials to retaliate with targeted airstrikes.