(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Following days of criticism over her endorsement of a rabidly antisemitic author, writer Alice Walker spoke out on her web page about the controversy.
Walker, the acclaimed author of The Color Purple, said she does “not believe” that David Icke “is antisemitic or anti-Jewish.” Rather, she said, the recent outrage over her comments to The New York Times are an attempt to silence her support of the Palestinian people.
Last week, Walker was featured in The New York Times “By the Book” column, where she said she was reading And the Truth Shall Set You Free by Icke. That book is a known antisemitic tract, which denies the Holocaust and claims Jews are to blame for antisemitism, among other conspiracy theories. Many were outraged that the Times printed Walker’s recommendation without any qualifier about the nature of Icke’s work.
In a post on her website on Wednesday, Walker said the book is “very important to humanity’s conversation, especially at this time,” and said that Icke is “brave enough to ask the questions others fear to ask, and to speak his own understanding of the truth wherever it might lead.”
Walker said that the “attempt to smear David Icke, and by association, me, is really an effort to dampen the effect of our speaking out in support of the people of Palestine.”
The author went on to say that she is "a supporter of BDS
(Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions, now heavily under attack) as a just and justified means of ending Israeli occupation of Palestine, and ending the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children, which Israeli soldiers do with alarming frequency.”
Despite Walker’s attempts to link the two, criticisms of Icke’s virulent antisemitism and insane conspiracy theories have little to do with support for Palestine.
But the author doubled down on her antisemitism in the note.
She claimed that “I read everything. I even tried once to read Mein Kampf but found it too steeped in German history to make sense.” She then drew a comparison between Icke’s work and “reading the Talmud, or the Bible, for that matter. Some parts of both are extremely problematic, and contain programming – about how to live, think, behave – that has caused us more grief than we, poor beaten down humans, for the most part, deserve.”
After releasing an initial response to the outrage earlier in the week, the Times
posted a Q&A on Tuesday with Pamela Paul, the editor of The Book Review about the Walker feature.
Paul said the column never offers qualifications about book recommendations: “We do not issue a verdict on people’s opinions.” She added that she does not regret featuring Walker.
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