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Daily News and Foxman smear Alice Walker: ‘infected by anti-Semitism,’ all but ‘a lunatic shouting anti-Semitic canards’

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

We are seeing more smashmouth politics in several attacks on Alice Walker as an anti-Semite for daring to criticize Israel– in Walker’s new book and in her appeal to Alica Keys to boycott Israel rather than play Tel Aviv on July 4.

First, here’s an editorial in the Daily News applauding Keys for going through with her plans to play Israel. Presumably this editorial was approved by Mortimer Zuckerman, the paper’s owner and publisher and a leading Israel lobbyist:

Walker, 69, addressed Keys, 33, with words that were as offensively condescending as they were smugly muddleheaded.

“You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the U.S. South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people,” Walker wrote to Keys…

“Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.”

Keys would have none of it from a person who is one step above a lunatic shouting anti-Semitic canards on the street.

Israeli diplomat Ido Aharoni in the New York Post writes, “When Artists Scapegoat Israel,” and goes in for Syria-baiting:

A well-known American author, who prides herself of the protection of freedom and pluralism, is trying to deprive millions of Israeli music fans of their right to enjoy music.

Let’s admit: You do not think Israel has the right to be presented positively. You displayed your own inability to relate to Israel other than through the prism of the conflict with its neighbors.

Have you done anything about Syria? Ninety thousand dead, 1.5 million refugees. Full-blown civil war.

Now here is a piece in the Times of Israel, a rightwing publication, about Walker’s new book, The Cushion in the Road (whose list of themes is: “racism, Africa, solidarity with the Palestinian people, the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, Cuba, healthcare, and the work of Aung San Suu Kyi”):

The book reveals Walker as “someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s National Director said. “She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before. Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

Richard Friedman, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the Alicia Keys outreach, lectures Walker about the civil rights movement:

Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has lately garnered more attention for her unhinged political views than for her writing…

The analogy is false: “Apartheid” is a more apt description for the systemic discrimination against women across the Arab world than the only democracy in the Middle East. But this comparison is also an insult to the courageous civil-rights activists who risked their lives in Birmingham, Montgomery and elsewhere in the South to attain full rights for black Americans.

What characterized the civil-rights movement was its strict adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence. Even when attacked with fire hoses and police dogs, civil-rights demonstrators courageously refused to retaliate.

The Palestinian leadership, by contrast…

Walker’s response to Friedman:

In such a world, created no doubt by the deeply “hinged” it is an honor to be seen as unhinged. But more to the point, it is an honor to have had the opportunity to travel to Gaza, shortly after the 22 days of Operation Cast Lead when bombs were dropped indiscriminately on a virtually defenseless population and in which 1400 humans, 300 of them children, were killed.  And to visit the West Bank, where I witnessed the horrendous wall the Israelis have built that destroys Palestinian neighborhoods and farms, while stealing more and more of their land.  An honor to have witnessed first hand the humiliating treatment meted out to Palestinians at every opportunity by some of the most clinically “unhinged” people, outside the South of 50 years ago, I have ever seen.  The honor there was to stand beside Palestinians as we were all herded through the check-points; to witness small boys attempt to hold on to their dignity as the heavily armed Israeli check-point soldiers, out of our line of sight, obviously forced them to drop their pants. (No doubt every day.) They came into view again clutching their beltless pants and attempting to smile.  I recognized that smile from white supremacist Georgia when I was growing up.  It is one of the bravest in the world.

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36 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    June 19, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Should we expect any less? Of course the perpetrators of this evil, and it’s traitorous agents in the US are going to attack and libel critics. Having an agent of discrimination and bigotry like Foxman attack you is a badge of honor, a symbol that you are telling the truth.

  2. ritzl
    ritzl
    June 19, 2013, 2:24 pm

    In the “keep on talkin’, Zionists” category, it would be great for Richard Friedman and Alice Walker to get together on a stage and debate what the US civil rights movement was or wasn’t. Ms. Walker seems to have lived it. Mr. Friedman seems to have read about it [in a comic book?].

    Yet another Zionist “Who ya gonna believe, Me or your own lying eyes?” instant classic.

    BTW, is this Richard Friedman the Richard Friedman who is a member of Goldman Sachs management? I couldn’t get behind the paywall at the WSJ to get the mini-bio. If so he’s 45ish.

  3. Balfour
    Balfour
    June 19, 2013, 2:26 pm

    I guess Mr. Foxman has to say something in order to justify his $560,000/ year salary with the Anti Defimation League…unfortunately, when it comes to identifying racism, Ms. Walker is closer to the truth than Abe Foxman, who remains strangely silent on the roll of “price tag” attacks committed by Jews, and the refusal of Israelis to equate Jewish hate attacks upon Palestinians as terrorism.

  4. MRW
    MRW
    June 19, 2013, 2:56 pm

    ” But this comparison is also an insult to the courageous civil-rights activists who risked their lives in Birmingham, Montgomery and elsewhere in the South to attain full rights for black Americans.

    What characterized the civil-rights movement was its strict adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence. Even when attacked with fire hoses and police dogs, civil-rights demonstrators courageously refused to retaliate.”

    The insult, Mr. Friedman, is for you to think that it was Jews who attained full rights for Black Americans. They had nothing to do with it; it was Johnson who recognized what MLK could do for his legacy. American Jews and other White liberals were Johnny-Come-Latelies to the work of Ella Baker, who created and led the “nonviolent” civil-rights movement decades before Jews or Whites knew it was an issue. Nonviolence was HER creation, not the work of any white or Jewish person. Baker was born in 1904, around 23 years before MLK was born, and she started organizing Black Americans when she was 16. As she said of MLK, “The movement made Martin. Martin didn’t make the movement.” He was another interloper on her genius and leadership. She was the one who organized the lunchroom sit-ins and the Freedom Riders. It was Ella Baker who taught all the leaders of the civil rights movement how to engage in nonviolent organizing. Period.

    • MRW
      MRW
      June 19, 2013, 3:41 pm

      I’ve Got the Light of Freedom by Charles Payne puts the Master Narrative about the civil rights movement–the Supreme Court in 1954, Rosa Parks, MLK, and an awakened American population–through the wash and ringer for the fairy tale that it is.

      • tree
        tree
        June 19, 2013, 6:56 pm

        Thanks for the book recommendation, MRW. I’ll have to add that to my ever expanding reading list. The reviews mention the prominence of black women in the early movement. I had not realized that before, outside of an awareness of Ella Baker, whom I learned of (here, I think) a year or two ago.

        One of the things I treasure about the comments section here is the ability to learn a lot about world history that I was never privileged to know prior.

      • MRW
        MRW
        June 20, 2013, 4:17 am

        Septima Clark was another. I can’t remember the name of the third.

      • tree
        tree
        June 20, 2013, 4:58 am

        Ida B. Wells?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 20, 2013, 5:49 am

        Maya Angelou — Ella J. Baker — Alexa Canady — Septima P. Clark — Ruby Dee — The Delany Sisters — Marian Wright Edelman — Fannie Lou Hamer — Mae C. Jemsion — Toni Morrison — Alice Walker — Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 19, 2013, 3:45 pm

      The other thing about Friedman’s statement that is nonsensical is the fact that non-violence will not work with every government. The African-Americans were “fortunate” to be up against state governments which merely wanted to treat them as second-class citizens and a federal government which could be moved to aid them. The Palestinians have the misfortune to be up against the zionists, whose state seeks the elimination of the Palestinians and their society from their own land or, barring that, the oppression of the Palestinians forever.

      The African Americans could count on the rest of America seeking the fundamental justice is their fight against the likes of Bull Connor. The Palestinians have no such luck. They are up against a state in which the majority of the non-Palestinian population ARE Bull Connor.

      • lysias
        lysias
        June 19, 2013, 4:11 pm

        The civil rights movement ended up victorious because it was accompanied by black violence: the Black Power movement, Malcolm X (whom Martin Luther King came to have good relations with — he saw the tactical advantage of there being both of them), black riots in the cities. The powers that be in the U.S. decided that they would have to accommodate the blacks if the country were to be governable.

        Just as Gandhi and the Congress Party in India ended up victorious because their movement was accompanied by violence: Bose’s Indian National Army, the widespread rioting throughout India after the Congress Party leaders were imprisoned in 1942 (Viceroy Lord Linlithgow said that that violence was as great as India had seen since the Great Mutiny), the mutinies of the Indian Army and the Royal Indian Navy provoked by the Red Fort Trials of the leaders of the Indian National Army in 1946. British authorities decided that, if they could not rely on the army and navy in India, the game was up.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 19, 2013, 5:32 pm

        I don’t disagree with you, lysias. My point was that non-violent movements don’t work against truly ruthless, pitiless, inhumane regimes, because they simply sweep up the non-violent, throw them in a hole and they disappear forever.

        See, e.g., israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

      • HarryLaw
        HarryLaw
        June 19, 2013, 4:16 pm

        Woody Tanka @ “The African Americans could count on the rest of America seeking the fundamental justice is their fight against the likes of Bull Connor”. With the parlous state of the Arab states in the middle east, I don’t think they could or even would be inclined to help the Palestinians, add to that the ark of resistance Iran, Syria and Lebanon [Hezbollah] who genuinely do want to help the Palestinians are almost in a state of war with the west and its puppets in the GCC.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 19, 2013, 5:33 pm

        I think you are right, HarryLaw. They are out there by themselves, with only right and justice on their side, faced with a ethno-religious Apartheid regime intent on their destruction.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      June 19, 2013, 5:01 pm

      There is a seamless movement in the black led civil rights movement going back to end of slavery. W.E.B. Dubois was born in 1868 after all. It is sort of weird to see Zionist continue to claim that Jews were instrumental in the American civil rights movement.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        June 20, 2013, 1:24 am

        Jews were disproportionately involved in supporting and funding the later civil rights movement. It would not be unfair to say that Jews were instrumental at many levels (funding, journalism, legal) in the struggle for full citizenship for African Americans.

        Wealthy Northern Jews (mostly German) and then the children of later immigrants (mostly Eastern European) were interested in this struggle for a variety of reasons across the 20th Century.

        Now, going back, Southern Jews were completely supportive of slavery and not involved at all in Abolition movements (which often had a OT abrogation slant to them since slavery was a biblical institution. Northern Jews were also almost completely silent on slavery and only a few radical European rabbis condemned the institution (most said the problem was that American slavery was Roman slavery not Hebrew slavery — in which the bondsman still possesses redress and some property/body rights).

    • tokyobk
      tokyobk
      June 20, 2013, 1:17 am

      While its true that black Americans owe no other group anything for demanding rights supposedly enshrined in the Constitution, you are simply wrong that Jews were “Johnny-Come-Latelies” to the Civil Rights movement, who created and led the “nonviolent” civil-rights movement decades before Jews or Whites knew it was an issue. ” One prominent example would be Spingarn who helped found the NAACP in 19o9 and supported Du Bois while he was initiating the Niagara Movement at the turn of the century.

      This of course takes nothing away from the legacy of Ella Baker and others.

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    June 19, 2013, 4:13 pm

    There seems to be no reason anywhere at all to think that Walker would not object to Israeli-style behaviour were those responsible for it not Jewish, ie is showing prejudice against people or things who actually are Jewish. However, where else in the world is this kind of behaviour found?

    • tokyobk
      tokyobk
      June 20, 2013, 1:30 am

      You’re inviting whataboutism.

      That is Foxman’s point about Syria.

      But ultimately its an irrelevant deflection of Walker or any other critic of Israel.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 20, 2013, 11:40 am

        I’ve no objection to whataboutism in the sense of drawing comparisons – Walker’s own argument depends on drawing a comparison with Jim Crow. ‘You would have been against Jim Crow: so what about Israel, where the same moral laws are broken?’ If someone is to raise an accusation of anti-Semitism let him (her) produce an example where the same moral behaviour is condemned if Jews do it and excused without good reason if others do it. I don’t think that these comparisons are irrelevant to the discussion but I’d agree that they are put often to illogical use – if something is bad it does not cease to be bad because something else is bad too.

  6. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    June 19, 2013, 5:48 pm

    Israeli diplomat in open letter to Alice Walker: Don’t boycott my home http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israeli-diplomat-in-open-letter-to-alice-walker-don-t-boycott-my-home-1.530826

    [Israel should not be viewed solely through the prism of its problems, nor should any other country, Aharoni continues. Moreover, he alleges that Walker, a well-known American author who prides herself of the protection of freedom and pluralism, is trying to deprive millions of regular, hard-working Israeli music fans of their right to enjoy music.

    As a young nation, Israel is full of vibrant, hard-working people who are trying to make the world a better place on a daily basis, argues Aharoni, who illustrates this opinion using former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s work in the “newly decolonized” nations of Africa as an example: Immediately after their independence, Meir was one of the first leaders to reach out to them and asked them to join hands in sharing respective experiences.]

    sickening read
    Meir was one of the first leaders to reach out to them and asked them to join hands in sharing respective experiences to the newly decolonized” nations of Africa.

    the only shared experience that Africa and israel have in common is that Africa was colonized while Palestine is still been colonize. oh yeah another shared experience is apartheid by the European invaders.

    [Israel should not be viewed solely through the prism of its problems] a problem is national debt, poverty or the lack of housing for it citizens however ethnic cleansing , apartheid and racism is not a problem it’s an abomination to the world and it is the only way to viewed israel as it presently stands.

    not once in this ‘article’ did it even acknowledge the Palestinians plight the whole reason why Alice Walker wrote the letter to Keys in the first place.

    due to the respect of the comments policy i will stop typing now.

  7. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    June 19, 2013, 6:12 pm

    Alice Walker is correct not only about Gaza and the horrendous treatment of the indigenous Muslim Arabs but also of the threat to world peace.

    The urgent question to be answered is how did the state of Israel, whilst itself concealing a huge secret nuclear weapons arsenal, plus deploying a fleet of (undeclared) nuclear-powered and armed Type 800 Dolphin Class, German, government-subsidised submarines, manage to get America, the EU and the UN to impose the most draconian economic sanctions, ever seen in history, upon the sovereign state of Iran – a state that possesses not one nuclear weapon?

    Iran has a population of over 75 million mainly young people in one of the oldest civilisations on earth whilst Israel is a new state of just one tenth that size that was established only in 1948 yet has managed to bring about an unprecedented economic collapse upon its political opponent. How did it persuade the world to inflict this terrible blow to crush one of the major nations of the world that has a valuable heritage and important culture going back thousands of years?

    And whilst Israel builds yet more weapons of mass destruction in the desert and constructs yet more illegal settlements in the Arab West Bank and in Arab East Jerusalem in clear violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions, Iran’s economy is being deliberately destroyed and the lives of its 75 million drastically damaged by a legal authority somehow obtained by the US from the UN.

    Are these iniquitous trade sanctions the greatest economic and social destruction of an entire nation of 75 million, in the interests of an obscure political movement, ever known in the entire history of the world? And if so, should they not be immediately lifted in the interests of justice, democracy, morality, freedom and the future of Europe and the Middle East?

    Tony Bellchambers, London UK

  8. Hostage
    Hostage
    June 19, 2013, 6:34 pm

    What characterized the civil-rights movement was its strict adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence. Even when attacked with fire hoses and police dogs, civil-rights demonstrators courageously refused to retaliate.

    I vividly recall that after about a dozen race riots had left portions of the major US cities in ruins that my late father commented When it finally hits the bankers and the insurance companies in their pocketbooks, the politicians will get in gear and make civil rights a f*ck*ng civil sacrament.

    • tree
      tree
      June 19, 2013, 6:51 pm

      If only the Israelis would stick to fire hoses and police dogs, perhaps Friedman’s comparison would be apt. Or if the US had responded to the inner city riots with over a million bullets fired, thousands of US blacks killed, tanks and attack helicopters surrounding the neighborhoods and massive destruction of homes and black infrastructure, and continual ethnic cleansing, likewise the comparison might be more apt.

      But as everyone here (well, except dear hophmi) has said, there was an element of black violent reaction to racial discrimination in the US, even though the US responses then were much more tempered than are the Israeli responses, now and in the past .

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 19, 2013, 8:30 pm

      @ Hostage
      That’s not even giving a glimmer of hope, although it’s true. The securitization of the US economy (more profitable for the elite than beinging civil production jobs back) partners with the state of Israel, the military-security service industry in the fabricated war on “terrorism,” the “clash of cultures.”

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      June 20, 2013, 2:06 am

      Your father was a very perceptive man.

  9. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 19, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Don’t you just love when some white guy, who has been no closer than the movie “Mississippi Burning” to the civil rights movement, lectures a black woman from Georgia about segregation? Unbelievable.

    As someone whose parents grew up in a segregated South I shall offer my own unsolicited comments. It is really pointless to compare blacks in America with Arabs in Israel or the occupied territories. Blacks here where citizens whose rights, guaranteed in the Constitution, were not being recognized. Arabs in Israel, be they citizens or no, do not have such protections. Israel was founded on the belief that one tribe would have rights and privledges over all the others.

  10. James Canning
    James Canning
    June 19, 2013, 7:24 pm

    To what extent is Israel partly to blame for vicious civil war in Syria?

    Why?

    Failure to take Syria’s peace offer in 2008.

  11. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    June 19, 2013, 8:00 pm

    so now the ADL head honcho speaks for those who participated in the Civil Rights movement. Did the freedom fighters from that era give him permission to speak for them? If not, look for freedom fighters still alive to set him straight on Palestine/Israel. Who better that them to recognize apartheid when they see it.

    • yourstruly
      yourstruly
      June 19, 2013, 8:13 pm

      as for Martin Luther King, his “Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere” tells us where he’d stand on P/I.

  12. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    June 20, 2013, 1:38 am

    Can Alice Walker sue Abe Foxman for slander for claiming that she is

    “someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism” ?

    Noam Chomsky, as a matter of principle, is an absolutist in free speech. He has never sued anybody for slander and never will.

    The late journalist Alexander Cockburn, on the other hand, told people from The New Republic that if they slandered him (Cockburn) he would consider a lawsuit. Cockburn’s experience is recounted at this link.

  13. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    June 20, 2013, 3:20 am

    You do not think Israel has the right to be presented positively.

    That’s a new one.

  14. Talkback
    Talkback
    June 20, 2013, 7:57 am

    Just the daily accusation of antisemitism. I’m not even bothered to look, if and how they justify this accusation. I’m sure it’s going to be as pathetic as usual.

  15. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    June 20, 2013, 10:42 am

    Zuckerman should be required to register as an agent of a foreign country

  16. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    June 20, 2013, 10:46 am

    Alice Walker has been brave enough to connect the dots publicly. Another great change that has been happening among those who stepped up to the plate during the U.S. Civil rights movement. Connecting the dots

  17. Freija
    Freija
    June 20, 2013, 7:03 pm

    “They came into view again clutching their beltless pants and attempting to smile. I recognized that smile from white supremacist Georgia when I was growing up. It is one of the bravest in the world.”
    This is a very very beautiful text!
    Alice, you are throwing perles before swine!

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