Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple,” endorsed an antisemitic book by English conspiracy theorist David Icke last week in an interview for the New York Times. The recommendation to read Icke’s work, a repertoire that includes a belief of alien shape-shifting reptilians, seemingly went unnoticed until it was highlighted days later by Yair Rosenberg in the Tablet.
Walker has promoted Icke in the past, even favorably comparing him to Malcolm X. She made a more extensive plug of his work to the BBC just a few years ago similar to what happened in the Times. While many of her fans have expressed shock over learning of her admiration of Icke, it was not a secret and has been widely reported in past news cycles without the same level of fervor.
So why the headlines now? In part, this is a major flub for the Times as the U.S. paper of record. But also, there is a recurring theme in recent weeks where people of color on the left are being accused and in this case outed for antisemitism in such a way which seeks to paint it as some kind of underpinning of progressive politics. Or worse, house the problem of antisemitism in the black activist community instead of white nationalism.
The Women’s March organizers and Marc Lamont Hill have all come under fire in recent weeks though Walker stands apart for actually endorsing antisemitism.
Tablet’s reporting rejoins a faux narrative that it’s only a problem on the left.
Rosenberg’s article comes on the heels of far-right pundit Ben Shapiro’s stunt to invite newly-elected progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to a “debate” on his show, a proposal she skillfully rejected. As well, it follows the recent foray against Marc Lamont Hill.
Shapiro’s Islamophobia is well documented, and he has even extended it to Ocasio-Cortez by scurrilously accusing her of antisemitism because of her connection to several leaders of the Women’s march who support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, even though Ocasio-Cortez has never made a position on BDS.
Indeed Ocasio-Cortez has not expressed a single antisemitic opinion, quite the contrary, and is being used by Shapiro to promote his anti-BDS, far-right agenda. Marc Lamont Hill is a committed anti-racist who has a record of speaking out against antisemitism.
These white supremacist, misogynist forces are enemies of Black and Brown people, Muslims, Indigenous groups, Jews, Women, immigrants, LGBTQI, Palestinians and other marginalized communities.
They continue a long tradition of cynically and opportunistically weaponizing claims of “antisemitism,” while promoting (or remaining silent about) Zionist collusion with antisemitic forces for the purpose of expansionism and resource acquisition, at the expense of the Indigenous Palestinians.
The contemporary Zionist collusion with antisemites and fascists runs deep and is orchestrated by those at the very top. In fact, Zionists and the current Netanyahu regime are some of the foremost contributors to antisemitism and fascism worldwide.
In addition to collaborating with – and covering for – fascistic/ antisemitic agendas and politicians in the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, and the United States among others, Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly blamed George Soros for different events in Israel and has shared fake news about the Jewish billionaire.
Netanyahu’s son, Yair, was banned by Facebook earlier this week due to a genocidal post, and was the subject of much controversy for sharing an explicitly antisemitic meme featuring George Soros in 2017. As a result, Yair was celebrated by the neo-Nazi outlet The Daily Stormer.
Zionists have always flirted with antisemites and fascists. It is now simply more obvious and shameless, likely inspired by the current global reactionary trend and unremitting permissiveness of the US to Israeli human rights violations, with Netanyahu the father openly revising the history of the Holocaust to serve his political needs.
Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism
The veteran Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy recently wrote yet another controversial piece, in which he stated his lack of sympathy for illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The article sparked outrage, and some on social media called for the de-platforming of Levy from Haaretz.
Similar to all critics of Zionism and the state of Israel, Gideon Levy is excoriated as an “antisemite”, “self-hating-Jew”, “traitor” etc.
The hypocrisy inherent within these self-righteous cries is astounding.
These same voices were silent when Haaretz recently ran Daniel Pipes’ column, which called for a push for an “Israeli victory” as the “only way to end the conflict with the Palestinians”.
They were silent when Haaretz ran Gadi Taub’s embarrassing puff piece for antisemite/ fascist Steve Bannon.
And they were silent when Haaretz ran Petra Marquardt-Bigman’s smear of the Tamimi family.
In fact, there are many examples of pieces in the Liberal-Zionist Haaretz which support the rise of global neofascism, imperialism and Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Levy is among a few (e.g. Amira Hass is another) who serve to sanitize Amos Schocken’s Hasbara platform.
By colluding with antisemites worldwide and weaponizing the term “antisemitism” to inappropriately include anti-Zionism, Zionists have transformed a very real and ongoing threat to Jews into a political tool that serves their own settler colonialist goals.
It is time for all people of conscience, including Jews to hold Zionists accountable for their ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. As part of this process, it is essential to prevent the cynical manipulation of anti-racism as a tool for dividing resistance and solidarity with the oppressed.
When antisemitism is weaponized opportunistically and strategically by Zionists and other white supremacists, it places all marginalized communities, including Jews, at risk.
Editor’s note, 5:45pm: updates were made to this post after publication.