May 31, NEW YORK — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YM-YWHA, commonly known as ‘The Y’) for having hosted a virulent critic of Israel and borderline anti-Semite, author Alice Walker this week.
Alice Walker’s record:
In 2011, Walker made a video in support of the Gaza flotilla, a campaign to break Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza, a territory controlled by Hamas, the terrorist organization that has murdered hundreds of Jews in suicide bombings and which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the global murder of Jews (Article 7). (Walker could not have been unaware that the previous Hamas/Gaza flotilla included violent activists who sang songs about Muhammad coming to murder the Jews). In her video, Walker compared Israel to the Deep South, and Hamas and Gaza to the blacks who suffered there.
In 2011, Walker joined the second flotilla to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza aboard a ship named The Audacity of Hope.
In a June 2011 interview in Foreign Policy, Walker stated said that “I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world.”
Last year, Walker refused to permit her book, The Color Purple, to be translated into Hebrew because, in her view, “Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”
In October 2012, together with Roger Waters, who was also recently to have been hosted at the 92nd Y and who is also an anti-Israeli activist who supports Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS), Walker attempted to block Carnegie Hall from hosting the world-famous Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
This month, Walker, interviewed on the BBC Radio program, Desert Island Discs, named the book, Human Race, Get Off Your Knees by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke as a favorite. In his book, Icke calls “for humanity to rise from its knees and take back the world from the sinister network of families and non-human entities that covertly control us.” In his website, Icke recently wrote that “the Zionist Jews are racist, supremacists, and violent … The Zionists want to control the world, their karma is to fail and destroy themselves.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We cannot understand the heedlessness and indifference with which some Jewish organizations invite and legitimize Israel-haters simply because they may have some other claim to fame. In this case, they are legitimizing a fervent anti-Israel hater and activist who draws her morally obscene inspiration from anti-Semitic tracts and who allies herself with genocidally-inclined terrorists.
“It was only in March that the 92nd Street Y had the lack of wisdom and self-respect as a Jewish institution to have scheduled musician Roger Waters, one of the best known of the celebrity advocates for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a virulently hateful group that wages economic warfare against Israel and seeks its destruction. Waters’ appearance was cancelled for undisclosed reasons after protest. Also, recently, the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, a part of New York City’s Yeshiva University, bestowed an award on a vicious critic of Israel, former President Jimmy Carter.
“We are also puzzled that a defender of Israel like Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has said that those criticizing the Walker event at 92nd Y should be ignored because they would also object to appearances there by Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu or himself. This allegation is certainly nonsense: The ZOA would have no objection to any of these three appearing at the 92nd Y. While we disagree on particular issues with Alan Dershowitz, we wouldn’t object to him being given a platform and would certainly not be urging the 92nd Y to cancel an event in which he was appearing.
“Those who claim freedom of speech demands that the Alice Walkers of this world speak are mistaken. Freedom of speech does not obligate an organization to invite any individual to speak. No-one is under any obligation to give David Duke a platform. Freedom of speech means the legally protected right to speak or publish where one can, to hand out leaflets, to speak in the public square and to urge one’s views. It does not oblige others to help despicable people publicize their views.
“The Y, which has been a major Jewish cultural center in New York City since the nineteenth century, should scrupulously avoid legitimizing haters of Israel, especially one with Ms. Walker’s disgusting record.”
About the ZOA
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been – and continues to be – on the front lines of Jewish activism. www.zoa.org.