Pulitzer winning writer Alice Walker sets shocking new low for anti-Israel boycotters

Boycotting a whole language...

Alice Walker
Tom Gross
On 20 June 2012 10:10

American writer Alice Walker has set a new low, refusing permission for her prize-winning book “The Color Purple” to be translated into a foreign language.

Can you guess which one? Hebrew, of course. The language spoken by Israelis and Jews, the favourite target of misguided bigots of both far right and far left.

For a writer to boycott an entire language is virtually unprecedented.

In justifying her bizarre decision, Walker cited what she incorrectly called Israel’s “apartheid state”. This is, of course, nonsense.

Arabs play a full role in Israeli society. Indeed Israel’s new ambassador to Norway – a fellow writer like Walker – is a Druze, and his deputy is an Arab from Tel Aviv.

Arabs were elected to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset when Walker’s Deep American South was still plagued by brutal segregation, long before Rosa Parks took that bus.

In a letter sent last week to Yediot Books in Tel Aviv (which is owned by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper), Walker said she would not allow the publication of the book in Hebrew. On Monday, the letter was placed on the website of the “Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel”.

In 1985, “The Color Purple,” which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was turned into a feature film directed by famed Jewish film director Steven Spielberg. The film was nominated for 11 Oscars.

In recent years, Walker travelled to Gaza where she was warmly welcomed by the zealots of Hamas but reportedly had nothing to say about their subjugation of Gazans in general, and of Palestinian women in particular, nor about their mistreatment of minorities.

Last year, Walker called Israel “a terrorist organization.” 

By contrast, whereas the likes of writer Walker and actress Emma Thomson don’t think Israelis should be allowed to read books or perform plays in Hebrew, the European football (soccer) federation UEFA is refusing calls for Israel to be boycotted.

Instead it has just announced that Israel will host the 2013 under-21 football championships.

UEFA President Michel Platini wrote to Israel Football Association President Avi Luzon on Monday to confirm that Israel will stage the 2013 tournament from June 15-28 despite “a certain amount of pressure being put on us.”

“UEFA is an apolitical organization and your association earned the right to host this competition through a fair, democratic vote,” Platini wrote. “I am sure that it will be a beautiful celebration of football that, once again, will bring people together.”

To the dismay of many, a number of high-profile former footballers backed calls to disallow Israel to host the competition. These included former Manchester United and France star Eric Cantona and former West Ham and Seville striker Frederic Kanoute.

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