Gala in Los Angeles raises millions for IDF
This year’s annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) fundraising gala, which took place in Beverly Hills, California last Thursday, was attended by 1,200 people, who raised $31 million for the organization.
Guests from both the United States and Israel, including renowned actors Mark Wahlberg and Jason Segel, as well as Israeli-born KISS frontman Gene Simmons, gathered to honor the experiences of IDF soldiers.
The FIDF was established in 1981 by multiple Holocaust survivors, and serves to provide IDF soldiers with cultural, educational, and recreational programs.
The evening centered around IDF soldier’s experiences through testimonies by grieving mothers as well as a first-hand account of the tremendous importance of Israeli medical technology on the American army and its troops by a US army veteran.
By the end of the night, $31 million was collected, an achievement entertainment tycoon and FDIF national board member Haim Saban said “humbled him” and attested to the “importance of the FIDF organization and its mission.”
While IDF soldiers and their supporters wined and dined late into the night, a 25-year-old West Bank resident, Maliek Al Sharieef, was shot and killed near the Gush Atzion settlement located between Bethlehem and Hebron by an IDF soldier. Al Sharieef worked as a children’s program presenter on a local Hebron radio station. His murder brought the Palestinian civilian death count by the opposition up to 76 since October 1.
Thursday night also brought a shocking allegation by the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, who penned an open letter to the head of the Council of the United Nations concerning Israel’s theft of slain Palestinians’ organs. Mansour related this to earlier reports of organ theft.
IDF murder of Palestinian civilians and violation of human rights are not novel occurrences. In July of 2014, the IDF led a series of brutal attacks on the Gaza Strip, leaving behind a trail of more than 2,200 bodies. A majority of the casualties were civilians, almost 500 of whom were children. 20,000 homes were demolished, displacing 500,000 Gaza residents. This attack, which has been dubbed Operation Protective Edge, is similar to past deadly missions. Operation Cast Lead was particularly vicious, claiming the lives of 1,500 Palestinians in 22 days in 2008-2009. The targeted attack of civilians is prohibited under international law, a fact which the IDF and Israel are well aware of, but continue to ignore.
Many of the operations and attacks begin with seemingly meager disputes among Israeli settlers and Palestinian citizens. The latest attacks have stemmed from such disagreements as Israelis look to expand their illegal settlements, as Resolution 446 of the United Nations Security Council explicitly states that Israel’s establishment of settlements “have no legal validity.”
Despite the blatant disregard for international law and the countless human rights violations, Israel continues to escape prosecution unscathed, avoiding any charges of war crimes and abuse of international law.
Another FIDF event is scheduled to take place in Boston on Wednesday.