Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alice Walker's Jewish Problem

Alice Walker (center seated) on a Code Pink 'mission' to Gaza.
Alice Walker, who 28 years ago won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Color Purple, has spent much of her creative capital in the last decade in tirades against Israel. Currently attaching herself to the anti-Israel confab, Move Over AIPAC, she has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of BDS and was a signatory to several obnoxious, not to say ignorant, anti-Israel letters and petitions including the boycotting of Toronto's Film Festival for its tribute to Tel Aviv's 100th birthday. That long-ago Pulitzer has insulated her opinions from criticism while at the same time it has helped to confer status upon activities in which she has participated. I think her problem with Israel reflects her problem with Jews.

Here she is on Israel, and tell me that it is only 'criticism' of Israeli policy as opposed to anti-Semitism:

"There are differing opinions about this, of course, but my belief is that when a country primarily instills fear in the minds and hearts of the people of the world, it is no longer useful in joining the dialogue we need for saving the planet."

Walker with ex, Mel Leventhal, and daughter Rebecca.

Here she is about her Jewish ex-husband with whom she has an estranged daughter.

"I gave her [an old Palestinian woman] a gift I had brought, and she thanked me. Looking into my eyes she said: May God protect you from the Jews. When the young Palestinian interpreter told me what she’d said, I responded: It’s too late, I already married one. I said this partly because, like so many Jews in America, my former husband could not tolerate criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians. Our very different positions on what is happening now in Palestine/Israel and what has been happening for over fifty years, has been perhaps our most severe disagreement. It is a subject we have never been able to rationally discuss. He does not see the racist treatment of Palestinians as the same racist treatment of blacks and some Jews that he fought against so nobly in Mississippi."  

Here she is comparing Israel to German colonialism:

Q:Is there a sense in your mind of a connection between the colonialism and the horrors in Africa and the bombings and the victims that you witnessed from those bombings in Gaza?:

A: Yes. I see it as the same colonialism. I see it as the same. In fact, I think that one of the things we forget about the settlers in Israel, is that they are just as German as they are Jewish. And so that the German influence that caused so much damage in Rwanda is in some of the behavior of the German Jews in Israel. And that's the part which we need to look at more.

Here she is on a one-state solution. See if you can hear echos of Helen Thomas:

Amy Goodman: You say that the Middle East solution is beyond the two-state solution, and you also talk about restorative justice.
Alice Walker: Yes, I do, because I believe in restorative justice. I think we could use that here. I mean, I don’t feel great about the past leaders here not being brought to trial, actually, you know. But if we can’t have trial, we could at least have council. I mean, but to let people, any people, just go, after they’ve murdered lots of people and destroyed a lot, is not right. It destroys trust. So—what was the rest of the question?

Amy Goodman:  And you believe in a one-state solution
Alice Walker:  Oh, the one-state solution. Yes, I do. I mean, when I think about my tax money, and I think about, well, you know, given that I’ve already given, and we as a country have given over a trillion dollars to Israel in the last—since, I don’t know, ‘48 or something, but a lot of money that we could have used here, where would I be happiest to see, you know, my money spent? Well, I would be happy seeing my money spent for all the people who live in Palestine. And that means that, you know, the Palestinians who are forced out of their houses, forced off of their land, should come back and share the land, all of it, including the settlements. You know, if I am going to be asked to help pay for settlements, I would like to be, you know, permitted to say who gets to live in them. And I would like the women and children, the Palestinian women and children that I saw, I would like to say—take them by hand and say, “You know what? Look at this. We built this for you. You’re home now.” 

And here is 'Rabbi' Michael Lerner, who preposterously invited her to give the sermon at his temple on Yom Kippur. As an hysterical Israel basher himself, even Lerner had trouble with her presentation in which she charged Israeli soldiers with systematically raping Palestinian women and accused American Jews of dual loyalty:

"...I was shocked and disappointed that Alice Walker, whose book The Color Purple won a Pulitzer Prize, would give a talk so lacking in nuance and filled more with attitude than facts or analysis. I had framed her talk by presenting my own brief summary of the history which had led Israeli and Palestinians into this 120 year old conflict, explaining how both sides bore responsibility for the conflict, even though Israel's far greater power in the past sixty years has given Israel far greater moral responsibility to take definitive action to end the Occupation, end the human rights abuses, and provide reparations to the Palestinian people--as part of a peace agreement that would provide security for both Israel and Palestine.  Instead of picking up on that attempt at even-handedness, Ms. Walker's first comments dismissed the history as largely irrelevant. I wonder how she would react if someone were to make that same comment about the past history of slavery and segregation when discussing contemporary levels of crime in the Black community, or even about the past history of women's oppression through ten thousand years of patriarchy.

"...there are at the moment  no credible reports of Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women, as Ms. Walker alleges. I did my own post-Yom Kippur web search on this, and remain very doubtful that these charges have been substantiated. It seems possible to me that there may have been some isolated instances of rape--but I have no reason to believe that that "possibility" ever turned into an actuality. It's not the case that rape is beyond the capacity of Jewish men--in Israel there have been numerous cases of Jewish men raping Jewish women. But the variety of human rights organizations seeking to shed light on Israeli offenses have not made the charge of rape, even as they do make the subtantiated charges of torture, murder, etc. against Israeli settlers and soldiers. So I remain deeply skeptical about this charge." 

Many members of his congregation, also far to the left of most affiliated Jews were outraged by her allegations and felt she was racist and anti-Semitic. For example:

"As you may have noticed (or not), I walked out toward the end of Alice Walker's speech.  It is the first time I have ever done such a thing.  Icompletely support Tikkun's position on the Israeli/Palestinian issue.  And,I thought your introduction of Alice Walker presented a balanced and compassionate historical synopsis of anti-Semitism and the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  I experienced Alice Walker's words and thetone of her speech as being hateful and frankly blatantly anti-Semitic.  I was offended and veryuncomfortable staying in the room.  I had to leave.

"To me, Walker unfortunately invalidated a lot of good points by her approach, especially by 1) dismissing your intro as irrelevant 2) bringing up Jewish "dual loyalty," telling us we owed America more commitment and 3) telling us Israel, because of the human rights abuses, should not exist as an actual land for the Jewish people, but should be theoretical "in our minds" (like we haven't tried that for a couple thousand years!)".

And here is Phyllis Chesler, the disillusioned ex-leftist-feminist who is disgusted with Walker's lies about what happened on the Mavi Marmara: "How can Walker compare these known Turkish and Palestinian terrorists and racists to non-violent civil rights activists? Why does Walker hate Jews? But that can’t be true. She’s an anti-racist. She once married a Jewish man, a fellow civil rights worker with whom she had a half-Jewish daughter. So many Jews were part of that very hallowed civil rights movement, and supported the creation of the NAACP; so many Jews were and are feminists; what has gone wrong here? I mean: Why does Walker condemn, even abhor, the Jewish state and idolize the tyrants and Islamists who hold Palestinians hostage in Gaza? Why does she identify the haters and aggressors as the pure and innocent victims? Why is she a member of CodePink? She is smarter than that–or so I once thought."
Finally, here is Walker on what it takes to be good Jews:

"This is one reason I understand the courage it takes for some Jews to speak out against Israeli brutality and against what they know are crimes against humanity. Most Jews who know their own history see how relentlessly the Israeli government is attempting to turn Palestinians into the “new Jews,” patterned on Jews of the holocaust era, as if someone must hold that place, in order for Jews to avoid it."


  1. It's sad to see her vast intelligence used to disguise her disgust of Jews as anything but victims. It's hard to respond to quotes from her that are replete with bigotry. Just the initial quote about Israel being "a country [that] primarily instills fear in the minds and hearts of the people of the world" is so false; it's a quote Mel Gibson, another such artist, would employ. America instills fear in a lot of people around the world; so does Iran; so does Hezbollah; so does Russia; so does China. A Pakistani singer and her father were murdered today because she sings in the Pashtun language but in a Western style. Based on this, it would seem that Alice Walker shouldn't let her book be printed even in English, let alone other languages. There's no point in explaining to people like her what Israel is up against and how Israel is not an apartheid state. And it's widespread acceptance of Alice Walker's stance (rather than vigorous argument) by those who are not Jews that leads more Jews to the conservative side of politics, now that it is the normative (not far) left, and not the right (other than the Mel Gibson far-right), that harbors and coddles anti-Semites. I'd rather side with a philo-Semitic gun rights supporter than with an anti-Semitic abortion rights supporter (although I will fight for gun control and abortion rights in my home state). At the heart of it, the fascists had some social welfare programs that were fantastic, but their anti-Semitic and global domination ideas would put me in the anti-fascist camp. I view Alice Walker, today, as closer to the fascist camp, despite her selective protestations against "brutality" by only one nation (and a blind eye to any real, targeted, intentional brutality by the leadership of Iran, Syria, Gaza, etc.

    1. Well said! We completely agree and couldn't have put it better.

  2. Alice Walker is a deranged loon, who has already outlived the value of her own soul. Her daughter deserved better.

  3. I think it's simple: She married a Jew. They divorced. She now hates Jews.

  4. So on one hand you complain that she is not questioned because she won a Pulitzer, while on the other you justify Israel's behaviour by the horrors suffered by all Jewish people in history. Being critical of Israel does not equate to being anti-Semitic. Your "examples" are paranoid at best, and completely misleading at worst.

    As for your previous commenters, are you so desperate for readership that you will allow comments like the above? Yes, that is exactly how it works - when you divorce someone, who automatically hate their entire ethnoreligious group. And to the above: do you really want people to know you get your information from The Daily Mail? Why not just get it from social media - you'll be equally misinformed.

    1. As you can see I seem to be desperate enough to allow even your comment.

  5. who cares what this antisemite has to say?
    She wrote a book 100 years ago and got a Pulitzer Prize for it and now her opinions count...they don't!
    she's just an ignorant antisemite and her exhusband is a traitor to his people for having married that miserable ugly woman...

  6. She makes very good points in her words and beliefs and it sickens me how disillusioned people, especially Americans are about the secular zionist state of Israel.When given the facts and circumstances that have led to the injustices towards the native palestinians and the rich ashkenazi take over, it can be summed up as a terrible tragedy. Figures like Hitler and Balfour, Churchill and many others including those present at the Basil Conference of 1903 have helped create a whole world wide mess of hatred and intolerance towards anyone who is different, if palestinians were a wealthy people in 1917 when Palestine was 90 percent arab or 1948 when Israel was couped into a nation, only 30 percent Jewish... these events never would have happened. The French and English owned and sold the land to rich Jewish businessmen, The people whose families lived on the land for centuries were forced into exodus. Whomever wants to call this biblically justified has a twisted mind.

    1. You lost me at 'rich Ashkenazi takeover' which only starts to demonstrate your ignorance about the history of Israel.


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