WALKER, Alice. Prize-winning African American writer supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli Apartheid

Alice Malsenior Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an African American author, poet, activist and author of the novel “The Color Purple” (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Walker ).


Alice Walker to Apartheid Israel publisher Yediot Books refusing  permission for them to publish the Hebrew translation of her novel “The Color Purple”  (2012): “ “Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE.  It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason:  As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.  The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating.  I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse.  Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than  what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long. It is my hope that the non-violent BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, of which I am part, will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.” [1].

Alice Walker supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank: “So what to do? Rosa Parks sat down in the front of the bus. Martin Luther King followed her act of courage with many of his own, and using his ringing, compassionate voice he aroused the people of Montgomery, Alabama to commit to a sustained boycott of the bus company; a company that refused to allow people of color to sit in the front of the bus, even if it was empty. It is time for us, en masse, to show up in front of our conscience, and sit down in the front of the only bus we have: our very lives.

What would that look like, be like, today, in this situation between Palestine and Israel? This "impasse" that has dragged on for decades. This "conflict" that would have ended in a week if humanity as a whole had acted in defense of justice everywhere on the globe. Which maybe we are learning! It would look like the granddaughter of Rosa Parks, the grandson of Martin Luther King. It would look like spending our money only where we can spend our lives in peace and happiness; freely sharing whatever we have with our friends.

It would be to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and by this effort begin to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations. This action would also remind Israel that we have seen it lose its way and have called to it, often with love, and we have not been heard. In fact, we have reached out to it only to encounter slander, insult and, too frequently, bodily harm.

Disengage, avoid, and withhold support from whatever abuses, degrades and humiliates humanity.

This we can do. We the people; who ultimately hold all the power. We the people, who must never forget to believe we can win.

We the people.

It has always been about us; as we watch governments come and go. It always will be.” [1].

[1]. Alice Walker, “Letter from Alice Walker to publishers at Yediot Books”, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,  9 June 2012:  http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1917 .

[2]. Alice Walker, “Supporting Boycoitts, Divesrment and Sanctions against Israel”, Huffington Post, 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alice-walker/supporting-bds-boycott-di_b_603840.html .