Maya Sela’s response to Alice Walker’s ‘Color Purple’ boycott?

This is a guest post by Sarah AB.

Alice Walker has stated that she is not willing to authorise a new translation of her 1982 novel “The Color Purple” by an Israeli publisher. I’m not a huge fan of any aspect of BDS, but this seems a more than usually unhelpful example , and even zealous boycotters have expressed doubts as to what good can possibly come of such a move.

She explains why she is unwilling for an Israeli house to publish this book:

“Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”

Although she conflates those two very different contexts together with a cursory ‘and also’, Alice Walker is quiet about conditions for Palestinians living in other countries in the region. Invoking this article, about racism in the Arab world, might be classed as ‘whataboutery’ if done to deflect fair criticism of racism against African migrants in Israel. However, marking one nation out for special punishment, as Walker does, is rather more than fair criticism.

What is the best way to counter these methods? Conceding, either readily or reluctantly, that Israel is not beyond criticism is of course an automatic reflex for many opponents of boycotts. This (perfectly reasonable) strategy is adopted by Maya Sela, writing in the Guardian:

“Let us set aside the proposition that Israel is an apartheid state, though to me this doesn’t seem an accurate definition. The background to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not racial. It would have been enough to talk about the Israeli occupation: there is no need to bandy slogans around in order to strengthen the argument that the occupation must be ended.”

This measured statement is followed by the very sensible point that these boycott moves may, by making Israelis feel isolated and defensive, have quite the reverse effect to that intended. But I wasn’t sure about some of the later steps in her argument:

“For whose edification is she talking about racism and segregation? Is her aim only to preach to the converted, to the liberal masses of Scandinavia? It is precisely here in Israel that her voice needs to be heard, and in Hebrew.”

But Scandinavia is hardly a racism free zone. As well as the terrible case of Anders Behring Breivik, there is of course also a real problem with antisemitism in countries such as Sweden and Norway. And nationalist parties, often driven by anti-Muslim bigotry, have been gaining popularity in Scandinavian countries.

I also found this passage, which follows a brief account of the recent manifestations of racism in Israel, uncomfortable to read:

“Maybe this public and humiliating demonstration of primitive racism to the world is Israel’s punishment for the occupation. Something inside us is sick. The situation is disturbing as well as infuriating – but the way to fight it is to make your voice heard, not to be silent.”

That statement, ‘something inside us is sick’, in particular, seemed very startling, suggesting that a whole country, a whole people, might be pathologically tainted by the actions of some, actions which may be deplorable but which are hardly unique. Although she is speaking out against turning Israel into an exceptional case, I wonder whether the writer also seems to have internalised something of that exceptionalism herself. This is a tricky area though. For me, it resonated with the controversy surrounding a recent article by Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy ‘Why do they hate us’ – the ‘they’ in question being Arab men. Danios asks:

“Why, for example, did Mona Eltahawy choose to publish her article in Foreign Policy, an American magazine?  Why didn’t she write it for an Arab/Arabic publication, with a primarily Arab readership?”

It is healthy to be honest about one’s own country, face up to its flaws, rather than be blindly partisan. However the precise effect of such self-criticism may depend, not just on the words used, but on the publishing context in which those words appear. Just as Egyptian readers might read Eltahawy’s article with a defensive awareness that some of her readers are just looking for an excuse to demonise the whole culture, so some of Sela’s Israeli readers might feel less inclined to participate in her anxious introspection once they have read some of the comments added by Guardian readers.

38 Responses to “Maya Sela’s response to Alice Walker’s ‘Color Purple’ boycott?”

  1. allan siegel Says:

    Greetings,
    Of course on the very flimsy surface Maya Sela’s CiF in the Guardian seems very reasonable, anguished even in its disbelief and dismissal of Alice Walker’s position. However, the truth is Sela’s position is very shaky, for example: “Let us set aside the proposition that Israel is an apartheid state, though to me this doesn’t seem an accurate definition. The background to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not racial.” Well OMG how can it be that the background to this conflict is not racial? Must be that racism had nothing to do with colonialism also (anyone here ever read Albert Memmi?). Of course if one doesn’t acknowledge the racial element in the conflict it follows that Israel could never be thought of as an apartheid state.

    • zkharya Says:

      ‘The background to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not racial.” Well OMG how can it be that the background to this conflict is not racial? Must be that racism had nothing to do with colonialism also (anyone here ever read Albert Memmi?). ‘

      That assumes

      a) that Zionism is colonialism and
      b) colonialism means only what you seem to imply

      Zionism was not monolithic: those arrive in the late 19th century had few ideas in common save they wanted Jews to live in some kind of freedom and independence in their historical homeland: free of the discrimination and persecution they had known in the lands of exile; certainly free of the discrimination to which Jews had been accustomed at the hands of Palestinian Christians and Muslims for most of Palestinian Christian and Islamic history.

      When it became clear that Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims did not want Jews living in the land in above the tiny numbers imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid had allowed or decreed, then it became clear that Jews would have to live in some kind of territory in which they were the majority i.e. constituted a state. So statist Zionism was born.

      Normally ‘colonialism’ entails exploitation of the natives, as white South Africans exploited the vastly more number black ones.

      Zionism sought complete independence from exploitation of the ‘natives’. Further, up to 1947, all land acquired was done so legally, through buying from its owners. One could stop Jewish colonizing by simply refusing to sell land to them! Often at some of the highest land prices in the world. Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian proto-nationalists had lobbied successfully to forbid all land sales to Jews in 1892, just as they had lobbied successfully to the Sublime Porte to forbid all Jewish immigration in 1882.

      The British forbade all Jewish settlement in West Palestine i.e. Transjordan in 1922, and much of East Palestine thereafter. One could call that a form of apartheid, effected at the call of the Arab Muslims and Christians the British sought to appease. The Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist movement remained hostile to Jews living in above tiny numbers up to 1947, and beyond, when UNSCOP decided the only way a Jewish national home might be fulfilled would be to ensure Jews could maintain their right of return in a majority Jewish state, and thus recommended partition.

      Which remains international law.

  2. The ghost of Bruno returns Says:

    Alan, coming from Canada I guess you’d know all about racism and colonialism.
    A few questions…………….
    Do you know the name of the Band whose land you now live on?
    Could you tell me the name of the reserves they are now living on?
    Could you also tell me the difference between the standards of living of the city you lived in compared to those reserves?
    Could you tell me the number of colonialists, such as yourself, that go into Higher Education and those of the indigenous peoples whose land you now occupy?
    Could you tell me the life-expectancy of those herded into reserves and the colonialists, such as yourself, who took their land and continue to build on it or exploit it for ‘natural’ resources?
    Could you tell me the proportion of indigenous population who are in your own film-making business and the number of colonialists, such as yourself, who are in the same industry.
    Could you tell me the names and numbers of all MP’s from an indigenous background?
    Could you tell the the names and numbers of all Supreme Court Judges from an indigenous background?
    Could you tell the names and numbers of all the Prime Ministers/Premiers (Provincial and Federal) from an indigenous background?*
    Could you tell me the State Religion of Canada?
    (Perhaps you have the comparative figures for Israel?)

    More specifically, could you tell me the reasons for your family’s departure from Europe?
    Could you tell me when your family arrived in Canada; that is, when they decided to take full advantage of the racist colonialist project that is Canada at the continued expense of the indigenous population?

    Now, as a ‘white, European’ you seem to have benefited very nicely and without complaint from the racism and colonialism upon which your own country and your own life is founded.

    Interesting that you spend much of your time projecting your own guilt onto others, while maintaining your own perfect innocence (and privileges); a phenomenon that when it comes to things Jewish, Marx understood almost instinctively. But, it is good to know the spirit of Bruno is alive and well.

    • allan siegel Says:

      The Ghost of Bruno must be looking at the wrong crystal ball; I’m not Canadian; strange how he made that assumption and then used it as an excuse to rant on about many things (all quite relevant by the way) that had nothing really to do with my post. Perhaps you might try reading Alice Walker’s book so that you might understand your geography a bit better.

      • The ghost of Bruno returns Says:

        Thanks Allan, I had no idea that ‘the Colour Purple’ was set in Israel!

        On another point,
        “as an excuse to rant on about many things (all quite relevant by the way) that had nothing really to do with my post.”
        I am sorry that you are unable to fathom the relevance of my relevant points to your post. It’s not the first time you’ve not been able to grasp what has been said to you, but at this juncture I cannot really be bothered breaking it down for you to comprehend. Now, where did I live my copy of…………….

        • allan siegel Says:

          Dear Ghost of B.
          It is not difficult to comprehend the ir/relevance of your comment – mainly because of its pompous grandstanding. The gnome in your computer must be working overtime to come up with such overstuffed nonsense.

        • The Ghost of Bruno returns Says:

          Hi Allan,
          ‘It is not difficult to comprehend the ir/relevance of your comment’.
          Leaving aside the (unintended) irony of response, I thank you for your very mature response. It is entirely in keeping with the standard of commentary you have exhibited on this issue to date.
          Best wishes,
          Ghost of B.

    • RS Davies Says:

      I’d suggest that the Ghost Bruno undertake a comparative study of North American societies in relation to human rights and the ability of inhabitants to hold office and participate in the electoral process. Picking Canada as an object of opprobrium I’d suggest is a little misplaced. Out of the USA & Canada, which had legal slavery, which observed treaties with indigenous peoples, which provide refuge for indigenous people’s to escape genocide?

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        RS Davies, your point is, of course, taken, but I do believe that the target of your demand for accuracy should be the lovely allan siegel and not bruno. It is, after all, allan siegel who appears to be defending the anti-zionists such as Alice Walker (who attack out of what appears to be an ideological ignorance), and not bruno’s ghost, who appears to be defending rationality and the role of evidence in debate.

  3. Kinks Says:

    The ghost of Bruno returns.
    Leaving aside the polemics, the point I take from what you say is that many existing countries are founded on the same grounds as Israel. In fact, if I extend you point, it can include not only the so-called Western states of the ‘New World’, but also those countries whose independence was declared in 1948 – India and Pakistan, for example entailed ethnic cleansing and massive transfer of populations premised on ethnic and religious criteria (or, in contemporary parlance ‘racial’ grounds); criteria that continues to have detrimental effects today. I do not know, but would be very surprised if ‘non-Western’ countries have a similar history. We know also that China and other states are annexing countries into their own. The question is that, considering these facts, why is it only Israel, that is only the Jewish state, that gives rise to the ire of so many, 70 years after its founding? If we subtract every other factor that distinguishes Israel from those other countries, the only aspect left over is the fact that it concerns the Jews! And, as we know all too well, Europe/the West has always had a thing about the Jews!. As I noted before, anti-Jewish persecution turned on Jews as ‘eternal wanderers’, a people/nation/race never at home anywhere. Now the remnant that survived Europe are still being told that there is no place for them. Even their own home, they are told, is not theirs; that they stole it, occupied it without permission. To put it bluntly, there is something that does not smell quite right about the obsession on Israel. Of course, this does not mean that one cannot be unhappy about and say as much as one can about what is problematic in Israel, including its occupation of the West Bank and its resistance to a sovereign Palestine state. But that is a very different thing from arguing that of all states Israel alone is illegitimate from birth. It is that view that contains within it the stench of the past.

  4. Noga Says:

    Is it guilt that is projected by Alan Siegal? Canadians tend to regard the aboriginal segment of their population as something of a lingering nuisance, a nearly solved problem that should be removed to the attic and preferably forgotten.

    I read Albert Memmi. Here is from Memmi, seeing as Alan is so concerned about Jewish colonialism or whatever and considers Memmi a moral authority on the subject of colonialism:

    “DM: As you have shown often enough, Zionism is not a colonialist phenomenon but purely and simply a movement of national liberation. And yet, how do you explain that the criticism of Israel so conspicuous in Europe seems increasingly to find nourishment in a source of anti-imperialist ideology such as is today incarnated notably in a movement that some, such as P. H. Taguief and A. Finkielkraut, consider proper to call neo-Leftism?

    AM: Because the European Left remains impregnated with Stalin-like and Soviet Manichaeanism. The Arabs, because they were dominated by the West and are still not out of the grasp of the West, seem to remain victims. The same thing happens in Israel. We come up against Arab feudal systems (by some miracle thought to be progressive) and oil money which will weigh more and more heavily on the politics of Europe.”

    http://sephardichorizons.org/Volume1/Issue3/AlbertMemmi.html

    And about the delights of being Jewish in Arab countries:

    http://www.jimena.org/Memmi.htm

    • NIMN Says:

      ‘remains impregnated with Stalin-like and Soviet Manichaeanism’
      Yup, that about sums up Seigel’s views expressed one Engage up to date; all of which are nothing more than reproductions of Stalin’s and post-Stalinst thought on Israel and ‘ZIonism’. Even his latest one is a not so subtle reworking on the Zionism = Racism fable, so beloved of his ideological fathers. Yawn.

  5. NIMN Says:

    ‘Of course if one doesn’t acknowledge the racial element in the conflict it follows that Israel could never be thought of as an apartheid state’
    And there you have it (providing, of course, that one substitutes ‘believe’ for ‘acknowledge’).
    And that is why Seigel and others like him are so desperate to racialise a rather unpleasant but run of the mill conflict between two groups of people. It is only by racialising the conflict can they sustain the myth of Jewish/Israeli exceptionalism. This they can only achieve through the distortion that Israel was a colonialist and imperialist project.
    Once it is shown (how many times is more the question) that this simplistic reading of things does not apply to Israel and Palestine then, as Seigel rightly acknowledges, the whole artifice and edifice of Israel as apartheid falls to the ground.
    Trouble is, of course, that people like Seigel are so constrained by their distortions that they have to hang on to them for dear life; hence both the irrationality of such dogma and the complete inability to allow empirical reality get in the way of a jolly good story.
    But as the recent past have shown us, ideologues grasp of reality has always been wobbly, even or especially when and where they try to force reality into the straitjacket of their own image of the world.
    The real question is not the veracity of the zionism is racism is apartheid, but rather why such infantile nonsense has currency in the first place. The Memmi quote goes some way to explaining it, but I doubt if that is the whole picture. After all, I have little doubt that Seigel will come back telling us how Israel ‘really is’ a ‘racist, colonilaist (probably also imperialist) project.

    Now, let’s take a look at what Seigel believes whoops, acknowledges more generally about these matters.
    From an earlier post,
    ‘What a skewed sense of history: Jewish history in general and Zionist history in particular. Perhaps just simply a reflection of the ghettoized and colonized mentality of Jews who have seen themselves as perpetual victims until of course Israel came along to reverse the history of victimhood. But where were all the brave Zionists when it came to the Resistance and fighting Nazis? Buying their way to the Land of Milk and Honey?”

    So, Jews in general and Zionists in particular can never be believed about their own history – and their own present in Israel or elsewhere.
    Apparently, they are psychologically damaged because of the oppression that they have suffered. It is a pathology that not only can they not escape but continues to plague them to this very day. Indeed, so damaged are these Jews in general and Zionists in particular, that their psychological pathology (brought on by their oppressors) can be explained as a cause of the current conflict in Israel. (The nonsense of Seigel’s last sentence has been shown to be the utter crap that everyone knows it to be).

    Now, of course, this idea of a Jewish pychopathology is not new. It’s application to Israel is not that new either. But, what is ironic is that a. just when the silliness of ‘national character’ as a guide to real events in the world has ceased to be taken seriously, it somehow becomes popular again in connection to Jews, Zionists and Israel (Try explaining to any serious person that the second world war was caused by the innateness of ‘the German psyche’).
    3. It is and has always been part of the imperialist, racist argument that colonised people are ‘not ready’ for self-rule, because of their history both before and after colonisation.
    The irony here is that today we have the anti-imperialists using the imperialist, racist argument that because of the Jews’ history, they too are not ready or not fit for ‘self-rule’.

    Once again, at least on the question of Israel, the anti-imperialists adopt the argument of the imperialists; that, since Jews are psychologically damaged they are not ready (yet or ever) to govern themselves. A classic case of adopting imperialist premises for what they believe are ‘anti-imperialist’ conclusions; or, to put the matter in other terms; to adopt racist premises for what they believe are ‘anti-racist’ conclusions.

    But, hey, when it comes to israel, let’s not delve too deep into the provenance of the arguments laid against it; who knows what else one might find buried there.

    • allan siegel Says:

      as NIMN says, ” that is why Seigel and others like him are so desperate to racialise a rather unpleasant but run of the mill conflict between two groups of people.” well there you have it – just your old ordinary ‘run of the mill conflict.’ Happens everyday. The respondents here can’t quite grasp the notion that Israel is a state and treaties, agreements, etc. are signed between states – between governing parties. The ideology of a state is manifest in its policies and how it acts. The ideology of the state of Israel of tied to Zionism (or is that too far fetched a position?). There is no ideological uniformity among the Jewish people (where ever they are) – the ideology of Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims etc. manifests itself in INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS and can be different from the ideology of the state within which they reside. That Israel has been seen by many as an apartheid STATE has to do primarily with its policies as a state not whether the individuals who live there are Jewish.

      • NIMN Says:

        Of course, the underpinning premise of your argument here is that Zionism is a form of racism and that since the ideology of Zionism is tied to the State of Israel, therefore, Israel is an apartheid state. Now, leaving aside the naivity of an unmediated relationship between ideology and practice, it assumes that ‘Zionism (unlike any other national -self-determination movement’) is racism’ and since the ideology is racist, so too is the state.
        So you will need to explain,
        1. that the ideology of Zionism is racism.
        2. the ways in which the ideology of Zionism (or your reading of it) enter or are mediated by the actually-existing state of Israel (including, of course, its law(s))
        3. And how the two together lead to the definition of ‘apartheid’ as understood by international law.

        • The Ghost of Bruno Says:

          I am somewhat confused by this last comment,

          At times you speak of the ideology of the state as a manifestation of ‘its policies and how it acts’ (all policies, some policies; all acts, some acts?)
          At other times you say that the ideology of the state (Israel) is its (pre-existing) ideology of Zionism (is this distinct from some acts? all acts? some policies? all policies?) and are all such policies and acts consistent with a pre-existing ideology or do they themselves constitute the ‘ideology’ and if such policies and acts are not uniform, where does that leave the “pre-existing’ ideology of Zionism? – intact, fragmented, challenged?)
          You then speak of the state as a sovereign body defined as its ability to enter into treaties, etc, with other such sovereign bodies which you imply is distinct from a non-racist civil society (i.e. the actions of Jewish and non-Jewish individuals who constitute the members of such civil society).

          You seem to think that state (as ideology), Zionism (as ideology) policies and acts (as ideology) are interwoven into a seemless and non-contradictory and ‘racist’ whole; that alone of every other political body politic in the world and against all reality there are no contradictions both between and within each of these three ‘things’ or, if there is, they are tied together (not sure at which of the three sources of ideology you want to choose) by an essential racism. In other words, we go back to an essentialist Zionism=racism or Israel=racism (you seem to make little distinction between Zionism and Israel other than as distinct sources of ideology). And that is the cause and symptom of your confusion

        • allan siegel Says:

          Ideologies are not immutable; and, what appears on paper is not always what is practiced on the ground. Was the communism of Marx the same as Stalin or Lenin? How could the U.S. at its inception profess to be a democracy yet condone slavery and facilitate the liquidation of its native peoples? What Zionism was in the political chambers and coffee houses of Central and Eastern Europe is not the same as it is today in Israel or is it? The historical evolution of an ideology is influenced by many factors; the racist element of Zionism (if we could call it that) was one thing a century ago and quite different today as a result of a host of factors tied to Israel’s state policies and actions.

        • The Ghost of Bruno Says:

          Communism – Marx to SU
          Democracy – Locke to USA
          Racism – Herzl to Israel
          How very Montesquieu.

          ‘the racist element of Zionism (if we could call it that) was one thing a century ago and quite different today as a result of a host of factors tied to Israel’s state policies and actions.’

          So, the one constant feature; the one red threat between the ideology and practice of Zionism and the ideology and practice of Israel is racism.
          Allan, you can dress it up anyway you want, but you are repeating (ad nauseum) the line Zionism is racism. Hardly original or convincing; but I look forward to hearing it again from you……….and again, and again and again……….

        • allan siegel Says:

          that’s a rather one dimensional way of putting it… but we’ve exhausted this thread.

        • The Ghost of Bruno returns Says:

          Well, at least we agree on something. Slogans that stand in place of thought always do tend to play themselves out fairly quickly; even constant repetition is rarely able to breathe new life into them.

  6. Some facts Says:

    ‘Of course if one doesn’t acknowledge the racial element in the conflict it follows that Israel could never be thought of as an apartheid state.’

    Exactly!

    1. Judaism is not a ‘race’. As such, anyone, including non-Jewish Israelis, like anyone else, can convert into Judaism if they wish.
    2. As 1 implies, there is no ‘racial’ bar between Jews and non-Jews; it is solely a question of conversion (and goes back no more than one generation).
    2. Admittance to Israel is premised on who is a Jew as set down by the Nuremberg laws. The reason for this test has nothing whatsoever with the religious question of who is or is not Jewish. One does not have to be Jewish religiously to gain entry into Israel. Again, ‘race’ is an irrelevance. (note also, the possibility of conversion; which, as one knows is impossible in the langauge of ‘race’)
    3. The conflict in Israel and Palestine is premised on a homeland for the Jews alongside a homeland for the Palestinians. It is a conflict between two peoples; in one instance a people premised on previous racist definitions of Jews (decided upon in the wake of the nazi persecutions, to ensure all ‘persecuted as Jews’ have a place of refuge, but which are meaningless from an internal Jewish point of view)) and which, by definition, eschews all genetic nonsense (as evident by a separate, religious, test related to Judaism); so that one can be an Israeli and not be a Jew as recognised by the Israeli religious authorities (a gap that is impossible from a ‘racial’ point of view) and, on the other side, a people who claim that the land of Israel (literally) belonged to them previously. In either case, ‘race'; either on the Jewish or Palestinian side, plays no part of the conflict whatsoever.
    For the Jews, the criteria of membership is definitions of persecution; for the Palestinians, a prior link to the land. (Indeed, as we know, Palestinian Arabs have full rights as citizens in Israel (bar, national service); as to whether these rights are honoured is of course problematic and work needs to be done on them).

    In the light of these facts, the idea that the conflict is ‘racial’ is problematic for several reasons;
    1. It is simply not true.
    2. It adopts as ‘truth’ the nazi views of Jews as if this was the Jewish/Israeli view;
    3. As such, it is a reworking of the ‘Jews are nazis’ lie.
    4. Israel has no resemblance whatsoever with South African apartheid; i.e. racial divisions and their immovability; prohibition of action in the political sphere premised in the basis of ‘race’ (or even religion for that matter) etc,. etc.

  7. rebeccalesses Says:

    It is actually quite strange that Walker now refuses to have her novel translated into Hebrew and published by Yediot Books, since the book was already translated into Hebrew and published in Israel in the 1980s. I have in my hand in the National Library of Israel a copy of הצבע ארגמן, translated by Shlomit Kedem (שלומית קדם), published by Laduri Press (הוצאת ספרים לדורי), in Tel Aviv. No date is given for publication. The call number is S 87 A 2447.

    It begins on page 5 with these words: יותר טוב שאף פעם לא תספרי לאף אחד חוץ מאלוהים. זה יהרוג את אמא שלך. The next sentence begins the first of the letters to God. I don’t have the English in front of me to compare with the Hebrew, so I don’t know how good the translation is. Has Walker forgotten that the book was already published in Israel?

  8. Jonathan Says:

    Surely Alice Walker should also be preventing her books from being published in the USA?
    There are more people in prison in the USA then in Stalin’s Gulag at its peak. Six million Americans are in prison: the highest percentage of prisoners in the world. See the New Yorker’s article “The Caging of America (http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik)
    Most of them are young black men. What is Alice Walker doing about that?

  9. Absolute Observer Says:

    Interesting question.
    The company that she has permitted to print her book is a Jewish-Arab company (I have no problem with the symbolism of this gesture). It is an Israeli company. Those who support BDS are trying to claim some sort of victory. And, in so doing, give themselves away – again. It would appear that are not opposed to Israeli companies after all, but rather Jewish companies (unless, of course, they have a non-Jew as an (co)-owner). ‘Can you think of any historical precedents to such boycotts??’

  10. mark2 Says:

    Interesting how many of the Israel haters portray the situation as “racial” in order to get in the dig about “apartheid” but if they are accused of antisemitism insist that Jews and Arabs are both “semites”…. case of wanting to have their cake and eating it.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      And, of course, gloss over (because inconvenient) the facts that the term “anti-semitism” (as it was then written) was coined in the 19th C. by a German Jew-hater, and that the term “semitic” applies to both Israelis and arabs only in the context of language – Hebrew and Arabic are both semitic languages.

      We may believe that the truth will set us free, but our opponents are only too aware that the truth would silence them.

      • Thomas Venner Says:

        The whole “being anti-Jewish isn’t anti-Semitism because Arabs are Semites too” thing is, from what I can tell, just invoked in order to derail a debate by turning it into a pointless argument over linguistics. It’s a standard postmodernist debating tactic, avoiding having to actually debate in a meaningful way by removing the shared ground necessary for having a proper discussion about something and diverting the argument into safely meaningless avenues of obscurantist pseudo-intellectual wrangling.

  11. Sarah AB Says:

    That’s a very interesting point, Absolute Observer.

  12. Dov Pollock Says:

    Every human being on earth, including Alice Walker, can read the Hamas charter. Among the blatant anti-Semitism, the second hand status for Christians and Jews, is the statement in the charter that there can never be peace, there can never be a compromise with the Jewish state. The Hamas leaders openly declare and work for the annihilation of the Jews. Children from kindergarten onward are educated in hate, in Jihad, in becoming human bombs to murder others. Rival Fatah members are thrown from third story windows, Christians are persecuted and Churches firebombed, women are degraded and murdered in “honor” killings, Gays are hunted down and executed in Gaza.

    Every human being on earth, including Alice Walker, knows that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and that Gaza is not “occupied”, can watch the thousands of tons of food and supplies entering into Gaza every day, knows that there is no shortage of food and goods in Gaza, can see people from Gaza being treated in Israeli hospitals, can see the mortars and bombs and missiles raining down from Gaza on Israeli school children and fathers and mothers in towns like Sderot.

    Every human being, including Alice Walker, knows that the Israeli naval blockade, to prevent arms smuggling, is deemed legal by the UN under international law, knows that if Israel was really carrying out “a genocide” [as the liars claim] there would be no need to stage Al Dura or to re-tweet and post the same picture of the same little girl who died a few years back in a playground accident as a “victim” of Israeli “aggression”.

    Every human being knows, including Alice Walker, that Israel is a diamond of rights and freedom for all its citizens in the dark mud of the Middle East. That every Arab citizen, every woman, every Christian, every Gay enjoys in Israel rights and freedoms denied them elsewhere. That there are Arab judges (including a supreme court judge), Arab members of Knesset, Arab diplomats and Sr.civil servants. That from Israel shines the light of advancements in science and technology, medicine, that Israel is helping to feed the world and bringing us daily closer to a green world freed from fossil fuels.

    So why does Alice Walker want to boycott the Jewish state and only the Jewish state? She and people like her say it is not because of hate toward the Jews and the Jewish State, that it’s not because they have become so morally incapacitated they can no longer distinguish between good and evil, that it is not some form of racism that condones the acts of one group like Hamas and condemns their victims.

    I don’t know the answer. I do know that it is time that good, moral and fair minded people boycotted the Alice Walker’s of the world.


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