AceShowbiz - Pharrell Williams has been bombarded with angry social media messages after performing at a benefit gig for Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) personnel.
The "Happy" hitmaker 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. Attendees raised $60 million (£46 million) for IDF soldiers, the families of fallen Israeli service people, and wounded veterans.
At the event, Pharrell performed "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 furious Palestinian campaigner wrote on Twitter. Others accused him of hypocrisy, as he has tried to ban U.S. 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. One called him a, "COACKROACH (sic) FOR FUNDING GENOCIDE AGAINST PALESTINIANS."
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. #HollywoodFundsTerrorpic.twitter.com/SToDRFUST6— Nisreen. (@NisreenAlKhatib) November 7, 2018
COACKROACH FOR FUNDING GENOCIDE AGAINST PALESTINIANS— Carterfattah (@fattah504) November 13, 2018
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."
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 🤷🏻♂️ #freepalestine 🇵🇸 https://t.co/pdeZu2ApGP— FredWreck (@Fredwreck) November 5, 2018
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 (end November 18) Hamas militants have bombarded the Jewish state with rockets, causing Israeli officials to retaliate with targeted airstrikes.