Alice Walker Declines Israeli Translation of 'Color Purple'

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker has refused to allow The Color Purple to be translated in protest of the treatment of the Palestinians.

Walker sent a letter “to the publisher, Yediot Books, a copy of which was published with her permission on the website of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The New York Times confirmed with Walker’s agent that the letter was genuine.

In her letter, she cited Israel’s conduct in relation to their Palestine neighbors ” referring to a citizen’s tribunal made up of human rights activists, including Walker, that last year investigated Israel’s alleged violations of international law.”

From her letter:

As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.

She ended her letter, “In faith that a just future can be fashioned from small acts, Alice Walker.“

However, New York-based website the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports that “It was not clear when Yediot Books, an imprint of the daily Yediot Achronot newspaper, made the request, or whether Walker could in fact stop translation of the book. At least one version of the book has already appeared in Hebrew translation, in the 1980s.“

In an interview with Foreign Policy last year, Walker claimed to have been active in the Palestininian cause since 1967, describing the United States and Israel as “great terrorist organizations.” She went on, “This is David and Goliath, but Goliath is not the Palestinians.”

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