Defenders of Alice Walker’s anti-Semitism surface, including Al Jazeera

The day after Christmas I reported on a controversy that involved the renowned author Alice Walker, whose most famous work was the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. The controversy began when, in an interview with the New York Times about what books she was reading, Walker noted that one of them was And the Truth Shall Set You Free, by David Icke. Icke is a notorious anti-Semite and a total crackpot who thinks the world is controlled by giant alien lizards who are usually disguised as Jews. (He says he’s not anti-Semitic, just biased against Jews who are really reptiles.)

Now Walker didn’t just mention this book and let it be; it turns out that she’s been a fan of Icke and his crazy theories for years; and Walker’s anti-Semitism, also evident in her poems and prose, was called out by both Tablet and Vox.

This poses a dilemma for Leftists, who have traditionally fought bigotry against both blacks and Jews. But what do you do with a black author, like Walker, who hates Jews and suspects a reptile beneath their skins? Well, the Women’s March resolved a similar dilemma in favor of Louis Farrakahan as opposed to the Jews he hates, because, I guess, Jews are lower on the oppression scale than blacks. This saddens me, for, as I’ve said, Jews and blacks were once traditional allies, especially during the civil rights movement of the Sixties. Now prominent blacks like Walker and Louis Farrakhan are, with the approbation of their followers, attacking not just Israel but Jews.

It’s no surprise, then, that people are coming to Walker’s defense, either not having read her posts and poems about Jews, or having read them but deciding that the works’ anti-Semitism can be overlooked. One of Walker’s defenders is (no surprise again) Al Jazeera.

Reader J. J. has been closely following both Icke and the Walker controversy, and contributed her own thoughts to the issue, which I’ve put up here as a guest post (indented).

Regarding the WEIT post on Alice Walker, there have been a few new developments, including the tangential involvement of Angela Davis.

The first matter is that, concurrent with a second defense by Robert Cohen, Walker herself has mounted yet another clueless defense on her website, titled “Effort: helping to heal the world by making it more visible to one another” (huh?), with a note from the controversial Israeli professor and Palestinian rights activist Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who may be reevaluating her support for Walker—especially given that Peled-Elhanan comes from a Zionist family, albeit Leftist, and whose grandfather was a signatory to Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Once again, Walker and Cohen use the same poem, this time “Conscious Earthlings” (at Walker’s link above), which she states is “about the necessity of separating Jews from Zionist Nazis” as a ‘proof’ that Walker isn’t an antisemite. Given the timing and content, I can’t but wonder if Cohen and Walker are orchestrating these defenses.

Further, the term “Zionist Nazis” is odious enough on its own, but the poem “Conscious Earthlings” must be read in the context of Walker’s adherence to David Icke’s teachings and world view. The title alone is a tip-off: “Zionist Nazis” means Rothschild reptilians [JAC: Icke thinks the Rothschild family are among the reptiles disguised as Jews], not “real” Jews. This poem, such as it is, is nothing but a coded piece of reptilian propaganda for Icke, and I doubt that either Cohen or Peled-Elhanan understand this. Or perhaps for personal and political reasons they’d rather remain willfully ignorant of the specifics of Icke’s demented ideas and Alice’s infatuation with them and with Icke.

How Walker and Cohen or any of her defenders imagine that her poetry or anything else she puts forward demonstrates that she’s not anti-Semitic is completely beyond my ken. It does precisely the opposite. She is her own worst enemy. Everything Walker and her defenders have written is ignotum per ignotius and simply mires her more deeply in the cesspool of hate that she plunged into headfirst long ago.

Her latest attempt at PR spin was to post a brief, seemingly innocuous video, which shows Icke and Credo Mutwa, a Zulu shaman, and several other Zulu adherents wearing blue and white uniforms, gathered out in the veldt at the site where Credo Mutwa intends to erect his “Temple of Peace.” Icke gives a boilerplate New Agey inspirational exhortation about peace and love and then the Africans begin singing. How peaceful and beautiful! What Walker didn’t link to is the “Reptilian Agenda,” six hours of video of Icke and Credo Mutwa in conversation, just two crypto-herpetologists jawing about reptilians. Credo Mutwa claims to have eaten reptilian flesh after mistaking one for bush meat. Perhaps that was before he was fitted with glasses.

Then, several days ago, Al Jazeera published an opinion piece, “In defense of Alice Walker“, by Susan Abulhawa, who came out with guns blazing, blasting Walker’s critics with a take no prisoners, shoot-first-ask-questions-later style.

The author of this hit piece delegitimizes herself from the get-go by making an injudicious admission and stating two false assertions.

First, Abulhawa hubristically declares that she hasn’t read Icke and, what’s more, she doesn’t need to. She then states that Walker does not endorse Icke’s ideas: she simply had his book on her bedside table.

Abulhawa apparently hasn’t read much Alice Walker, either, especially not her blog posts, or she’d know that not only does Walker have a history of making egregiously anti-Semitic statements (and professes to be baffled when she’s called an anti-Semite), Walker has said and written that she considers Icke to be a genius—brilliant. She believes in the literality of Icke’s abominable fantasies about reptilian aliens and hybrids in the guise of “Rothschild Jews” (and a few gentiles), and Walker believes that what Icke says is true with the same fervor that Christian and Muslim fundamentalists believe in the literal truths in their holy books.

Walker proselytizes Icke’s gospel, and she has been doing so since 2012 or 2013. Faithful disciple that she is, she even made a pilgrimage to see her guru guy, touch the hem of his garment and bask in his vibes. The charming couple had a photo taken to memorialize the occasion.

Abulhawa also repeats Walker’s false assertion that she’s called an anti-Semite, “slandered” and condemned solely because of her support for Palestinians and BDS, and that Icke is also slandered by this accusation. Walkers’ assertion, though, is nothing but a red herring waved around to distract attention from the vile doctrines and myths that Icke propagates and that Alice Walker avows are real—that is what precipitated this particular eruption of outrage against Alice Walker, not her support for BDS and the Palestinians.

Some who have sympathy for the Palestinian cause—and BDS in particular—would not take kindly to Alice Walker if they realized she believes in the “reptilian agenda,” the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Holocaust revisionism, so it’s best to obfuscate that. Now Abulhawa has swooped in to defend Walker at all costs, truth be damned. Abdulhawa is good at practicing tu quoque; but what Abdulhawa doesn’t examine are the facts with respect to Alice Walker.

All of this takes on added significance because just a few days ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute decided against conferring the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award on Angela Davis because of her support for BDS and accusations that she is an anti-Semite. This, of course, is causing a furor. In my opinion, the matters of Alice Walker and Angela Davis should not be conflated. Walker, while also a supporter of BDS, has a raft of blatantly anti-Semitic statements to answer for that have nothing to do with BDS or Palestinian rights; and if she can link her case to that of Angela Davis, she can, I fear, successfully muddy the waters and deflect the discourse away from Icke.

To add yet another layer of ugly and ironic insanity, David Duke has given Walker a glowing endorsement, calling her a “courageous black woke womanist.” The notorious Holocaust denier David Irving even gives a tip of the hat to her in his newsletter, which reads thus:

Blacks don’t like them either: Alice Walker, answering backlash, praises the bravery of anti-Semitic author [David Icke]. Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] have been monitoring Walker’s talks and writing for years.”

I’m sure that Irving included the comment about the ADL to cement Walker’s credentials as an anti-Semite, and he’s also cynically messing with her, just as David Duke did.

When Alice Walker protests that she and David Icke aren’t anti-Semites, but simply supporters of Palestinian rights who are being unjustly tarred and feathered, I’m reminded of what Andrew Gillum said to Ron DeSantis during a debate when they were running for Governor of Florida last year. To paraphrase Gillum: I’m not calling Walker an anti-Semite, I’m simply saying that anti-Semites believe she’s an anti-Semite.”

Finally, I find yet another screed on the Al Jazeera site that relates to all this: “The Zionist Fallacy of Jewish Supremacy” by Yoav Litvin, subtitled “Framing Zionism as Jewish and not white supremacy is a dangerous proposition,” which relates to a number of WEIT posts on the nature of Zionism, most recently this one.

34 Comments

  1. Richard Sanderson
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    There is quite a lot of linguistic twisting-and-turning from the Far Left, so that they can excuse their antisemitism.

    Part of this #NewRacist rhetoric involves classifying Jews as “white” and “privileged”, so it is fine to be bigoted towards them. They don’t quite come out and say that, but it is their aim.

    We have seen the problems of “social justice” movements (such as the Women’s March) and their failure to identity antisemitism and other forms of bigotry (which they claim to be against), and they are slow to accept there is a problem.

    Even when they do, various people involved in those movements are in denial, i.e. look at some of the “chapters” of the Women’s March, who are much more militant than the main “chapel”.

    But wait, they will state that they are “anti-racist”, and have “fought against racism all their lives”. Those phrases sound increasingly hollow, these days.

    Cf. “Anti-war” types who are forever defending Russian and Assadist warmongering.

  2. GBJames
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    This is depressing.

  3. Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    According to The Washington Post Walker has forbidden The Color Purple being translated into Hebrew. Plus she’s a supporter of Chelsea Manning. Ticks most of the Woke-boxes.

  4. Malgorzata
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    sub.

  5. Damien
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    ” Icke is a notorious anti-Semite and a total crackpot who thinks the world is controlled by giant alien lizards who are usually disguised as Jews.”

    I knew it ! “Spot the lizards” is anti-semitic game and an anti-semitic post !

    “He says he’s not anti-Semitic, just biased against Jews who are really reptiles.”

    So am I. That shit is spooky.

  6. CAS
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    As usual, just because you are smart and a good writer doesn’t signify that your brain hasn’t incorporates bat-shit crazy ideas like Walker. Lizard people, what the hell, how does she function? Damn, I used to think I was a radical leftist.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I happen to think that she’s neither smart nor a good writer, but chacun à son goût.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, J. J. If only people could be judged for the content of their hearts, and not the color of the scales.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      As you see, the naked bipeds are bigoted against poor reptilians just because the latter have scales. We have no solid evidence that reptilians ever did any evil, while one of the naked bipeds admitted that he has eaten the flesh of a killed reptilian; nevertheless, it is the reptilians who are stereotyped as evil.

  8. Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    There is no question that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. That’s obvious from the double standard applied in judging and condemning Israel alone. The anti-Semites of the Left assume that the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish state would result in a happy, multicultural society. Anyone capable of putting two and two together must realize if they have even a dim awareness of history and human nature that the actual result would be a humanitarian catastrophe, and quite possibly another Holocaust.

    Israel has a problem in that the currently fashionable fantasies of what constitutes good and evil on both the Left and the Right can be manipulated to rationalize anti-Semitism. On the Left, Israel can easily be portrayed as an “apartheid state,” lacking equal rights and true democracy, as long as one conveniently ignores, for example, what happened to the Jewish residents of Gaza when it was turned over to the Palestinians. Apparently apartheid in Gaza and the West Bank doesn’t count. On the right one finds “respectable” versions of the traditional Jewish conspiracy myths, such as the one concocted by Watt and Mearsheimer. As a gentile I support Israel because it seems to me that the right of the Jews to survive takes precedence over all the freshly minted versions of morality one finds today on both the left and the right of the ideological spectrum.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Pretty sure you mean “Walt” (as in Stephen Walt) and Mearsheimer.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Being a great writer provides no inoculation against having crazy-ass anti-Semitic view, unfortunately. Just ask Ezra Pound.

  10. eric
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    But what do you do with a black author, like Walker, who hates Jews and suspects a reptile beneath their skins?

    The same thing you do with a Linus Pauling: you honor and recognize them for the amazing contributions they make to their field…and be up front and honest about the fact that they also had crackpot ideas that nobody should listen to.

    Haeckel was a racist. Newton believed in alchemy. We have to get over this idea of categorizing people into ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’. Everyone’s pretty much a mix of good and bad. Walker is a great writer who speaks eloquently on the black experience in America…and she’s an anti-Semite. Both the good and the bad can be true. So…we honor her for the good, and be up front and honest about rejecting the bad.

    • James
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      The problem is, once you buy into the identity politics paradigm, you CAN’T simply acknowledge that they have merit in one area but are horrible in another. The two types of thinking are incompatible. In fact, under identity politics merit counts for little if anything (I’ve heard people seriously argue that evaluations based on objective criteria are racist and sexist, being part of the heterosexual white male hegemony strategy for subjugating others).

      The whole point of identity politics is specifically to put people into boxes of varying worthiness. If we could evaluate actions individually, and acknowledge that someone was good in some ways and not in others, that would undermine the whole structure.

  11. pablo
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Over at the Friendly Atheist, Hemant’s brain trust is blaming Trump and fundamentalist Christians for the rise in antisemitism in Europe.

  12. Posted January 13, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Al Jazeera hasn’t met an anti-Semite it won’t embrace. There’s like zero balance from AJ on anything even remotely related to Israel.

    But what I still don’t understand is how that part of the Left has decided that Zionism is white supremacist. Historically, the Arabs are the colonizers and the oppressors.

    Anyway, that whole thing about politics and strange bedfellows is pretty accurate here.

  13. Blue
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Well, verisimillarly in re humans who are
    girls and women, this post reflects how it is
    I have for long and long felt and believed in re Michael ( aka Martin ) Luther King, Jr,
    and the whole of the men and quite a few
    women of the Southern Christian Leadership
    Conference. As well as a n y fans of MLK, Jr.

    ALL of these people including his immediate
    family members know and knew of King’s
    blatant hatred but massive ‘uses’ (as in
    ‘used – up’) of women yet there is an
    upcoming ‘holiday’ to ‘celebrate’ how it is
    that not only did he use up human beings who
    are its female ones but he did absolutely
    squat … … from a bagazillion freakin’
    pulpits, no less … … to (even start to
    try to help) end femicide and clitoridectomy
    violences, most all of it perpetrated by …
    … religion.

    Speeching and other ‘works’ “forgive” this,
    do they ? O. n o t with me do they. There
    are plenty, plenty of good people including
    my own father who do or did literally a l l
    that they can or could to try to help a l l
    others throughout a l l of their times
    breathing. With that man, MLK, and his gangs ?
    All that I see is hypocrisy.

    Blue

  14. revelator60
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Lest we forget, Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Quatar. Some of those on the Left who pooh-pooh American and British media for corporate ownership seem to forget this when rush to embrace Al Jazeera and RT.

  15. Roo
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Lizard people? A part of me isn’t sure if that indicates anti-Semitism or a genuine mental health issue. Sadly, I think the deciding factor is probably how many *other people buy into such ideas. I think it’s important to pay attention to such thinking to the degree that it could become widespread and dangerous. If it never gets beyond a small handful of people, it’s probably more a common paranoid delusion. Then again, looking at history, it really is hard to say which ideas – no matter how outrageous they sound – can actually spread more widely. I think it’s a difficult balance between not assuming too much based on the unhinged rantings of a few; and not being naive about which sentiments can really become widespread. Erring on the side of the former is a good way to become thin-skinned and paranoid; erring on the side of the latter is a failure to notice real dangers when they arise. In this case I’d say it’s more the *response to such statements that say something on a broader scale.

    • Posted January 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      I was never an Alice Walker fan, but even though I didn’t follow her or her career I never would have pegged her as a rabid bigot or a tinfoil hat. So I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s suffering some sort of delusional disorder (supposedly, extreme prejudice is supposed to indicate that). Which isn’t an *excuse*, but it is an *explanation*.

      • Roo
        Posted January 13, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, something about a statement like that just doesn’t seem right. I mean I don’t know a lot about her, but I don’t get the impression she has a house full of crystal pyramids and thinks she’s channeling spirits from Mars or whatever – in other ways she seems more or less together. It’s not my place to go speculating about people’s mental health but when you straight up call people lizards something is really off.

    • Harrison
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      From what I understand from people who know more about Icke than I care to, the whole “lizard people” thing isn’t supposed to be literal. It’s just crazy-sounding codespeak for “the Jews.”

      And it kind of works. It camouflages very strong racism by making it seem like a less dangerous and more eccentric sort of craziness.

      • Roo
        Posted January 13, 2019 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        I can’t say it’s a topic I’m familiar with and I won’t pretend to be able to read her mind, so whether she meant it literally or as code is anybody’s guess.

        • Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:51 am | Permalink

          I’m also not sure whether this is an attempt at obfuscation. But given that on 29th of April 1991 I and a few million other Brits saw Mr Icke declare on national television that he was the son of god, I think the lizards thing is literal. There was also some guff about wearing specially coloured clothes.

          Anyone who hitches their wagon to this crazy train must really have been desperate to have their prejudices confirmed in the first place.

          What was interesting about the appearance in 1991 was that the audience laughed at him and the usually quite obsequious host, Terry Wogan, decided not to cater to his illusion and pointed out to him that they were laughing AT him, not WITH him.

      • Posted January 14, 2019 at 3:02 am | Permalink

        Speaking as a Brit who remembers when he first started all this stuff, I would say, no, he really is just batshit crazy.

        At the time, we all treated him like a joke (see pious123’s post above). I have no idea why anybody takers him seriously at all.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I think that, while it does seem a mental health issue, the direction such delusions take is teltale. E.g. in medieval Western Europe, a psycho would say that a woman they don’t like has bewitched them.

      • Roo
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        I honestly don’t know what to make of such thinking or what it means for society. Is it getting worse or has it always been this way? Do people *really believe the various conspiracy theories you see all over the place these days, or if push came to shove and you said “Bet your life savings on the fact that this test will show lizard DNA”, would they balk? Do conspiracy theories meet some kind of sociological need (maybe a desire to be part of a tight-knit group who are ‘in on a secret’, creating a close sense of community or something) or are they pure paranoia gone awry? It puts me in mind of this article:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/how-america-lost-its-mind/534231/

        (An aside, a part of me seriously wonders if Icke got the lizard people idea from the Super Marios Brothers movie. I remember loving that movie growing up, and it looks like it came out a couple of years before he started writing about lizard people.)

        The Susan Abulhawa article seems to sidestep this topic almost completely and instead talks about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Or maybe she meant to convey “I don’t like everything Walker has said, but I think we should focus on this portion of what she’s said,” I’m not sure. But, either way, I think it actually looks worse not to issue a clear condemnation when one is clearly due. She could have said “While X statements are completely unacceptable and there is no excuse for them, I do think Y and Z are worth remembering”. (I’m not familiar with Walker’s work so I don’t know what she’s said in other places about Israel-Palestine – but if Abulhawa thinks that *portions of it are defensible then she shouldn’t be afraid to condemn those that are not.)

  16. DW
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    > He says he’s not anti-Semitic, just biased against Jews who are really reptiles

    I… that… is AMAZING! So he’s saying “I’m not hateful, I’m insane!”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Exactly! Deeply insane.

  17. ploubere
    Posted January 13, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we could get PETA to enter the fray as well, what with this slanderous treatment of reptiles. Are not all animals equal and deserving of respect?

  18. Mike
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Obviously, they aren’t all locked up yet.

  19. Damien
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “Peled-Elhanan comes from a Zionist family, albeit Leftist”

    Why “albeit” ?

    Isn’t it true that the first zionists where socialists (not an expert) ?

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they, at least many of them, were (-h). The whole Kibbutzim idea was deeply socialist.
      It (the Kibbutzim) was a social experiment that basically failed, although it produced quite a few great people, so it cannot be considered a total failure. I guess it is always more complicated…

      • Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Don’t the Kibbutzim exist and function anymore?


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  1. […] Defenders of Alice Walker’s anti-Semitism surface, including Al Jazeera Walker proselytizes Icke’s gospel, and she has been doing so since 2012 or 2013. Faithful disciple that she is, she even made a pilgrimage to see her guru guy, touch the hem of his garment and bask in his vibes. The charming couple had a photo taken to memorialize the occasion. […]

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