In 1903, black civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in his most famous book, The Souls of Black Folk, “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not”. Du Bois figured that unlike your average early 20th century American racist, Shakespeare wouldn’t give a damn that he (Du Bois) was black. Because intellect and art transcend racial boundaries. Or so they should.
Alice Walker–also a black civil rights activist and author of The Color Purple (the book you read in Grade 9 English if your class wasn’t reading The Catcher in the Rye) doesn’t care if her readers are black. She does, however, care if they are Israeli Jews.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author and supporter of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, recently wrote a letter to an Israeli publisher, Yediot Books, confirming she can’t in good conscience allow The Color Purple to be published in Hebrew and sold in Israel, where an apartheid regime brutally oppresses the Palestinian people.
Sit with Alice Walker and she winces a lot.
I don’t share Walker’s world view. But if I did–if I believed Israel embodied the very opposite of equality and dignity–I would probably want The Colour Purple, a book about the profound importance of equality and dignity–to be translated into Hebrew and read in every single grade school classroom across Israel.
But what can you expect from someone who thinks an “Academic and Cultural Boycott” is a viable solution to any problem. That’s right: refuse a place you think is void of human rights a book about the importance of human rights–out of spite.
Thank you Alice Walker for proving my point: anti-Zionist activists hate Israel more than they hate oppression–and worse, more than they love peace.