Monday, June 27, 2011

Howard Jacobson Responds to Alice Walker's Gaza Flotilla Apologia - Update**

“Whatever its cargo, by luring the Israeli military into action which can be represented as brutal, the flotilla is engaged in an entirely political act. To call it by any other name is the grossest hypocrisy.”

Here is a sample of how Howard Jacobson parses Alice Walker's sanctimonious CNN essay about why she will be sailing on the Gaza Flotilla:

"The boat on which Alice Walker will be traveling is called The Audacity of Hope. Forgive me for seeing a measure of self- importance in that reference. It will be carrying, Alice Walker tells us, "Letters expressing solidarity and love." Not, presumably, for Israeli children. Perhaps it is thought that Israeli children are the recipients of enough love already. So what about solidarity? It is meant to sound innocuous. "That is all."

"Alice Walker makes plain, "its cargo will be carrying." But what will these letters of solidarity be expressing solidarity with? Solidarity is a political term implying commonality of interest or aspiration. So what interest or aspiration do Alice Walker and her fellow travelers share with the people of Gaza? A desire for freedom? Well we all aspire to that. A longing to live in peace?

"If they have such a longing we must be solid with them in that too, though the firing of rockets from Gaza is not, on the face of it, an expression of such a longing. And what about the declared hostility of Hamas to the very existence of Israel? Hamas, we are often told, is the elected government of Gaza, a government that fairly represents the wishes of its people. In which case we must assume that Hamas's implacable hostility towards Israel fairly represents the implacable hostility felt by the people of Gaza. Are Alice Walker's letters of love and 'solidarity' solid with the people of Gaza in that hostility?

Read Jacobson's whole essay here.
Marc Tracy in Tablet does a good job with Walker's topsy-turvey rationale that Jews, who were such important figures in the civil rights struggle, should understand her solidarity with Gaza. I personally find that she protests too much about how we must love all the world's children though she herself has managed to estrange her only child. But there are Mrs. Jellybys everywhere there are children of 'others' to be saved.

**A commenter --Blacklisted Dictator -- on Engage links to the whole piece by Walker as it appears on her website. It seems that CNN thought it was too obviously anti-Semitic to publish. Here's a bit:

“... the peace talks have been a ruse to continue their growth so that Jewish Israelis can claim the land by possession alone. Possession is nine-tenths of the law is one of the dictums I learned from my Jewish lawyer former husband. This belief might even be enshrined in the Torah. In any case it is a very old idea, and Israelis have made good use of it.”


  1. Excellent! I stumbled across your blog while looking for material to write an expose of the ridiculous Alice Walker. You might be interested in this, a piece I wrote for BrooWaha, an online paper. Very best wishes, Ana.

  2. Thank you, Ana -- I love your flotilla piece.It's brilliant! I recommend it to all my readers!


Comments are moderated so kindly keep it clean and respectful. All racisms -- including anti-Muslim hate speech -- will be denied a place here, as well as terms like Nazi used to designate anyone other than an actual living or past member of a Nazi or neo-Nazi organization.