Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alice Walker refuses to allow Israelis to publish edition of Color Purple

Pulitzer Prize-winner cites 'apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people'

Donald Macintyre
The Independent

"The celebrated US author Alice Walker has refused to allow a new Israeli edition of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, in protest at what she calls Israel's policy of "apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people".

The African-American writer, who is active in the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, has written to the Israeli publisher, Yedhiot Books, saying she cannot permit publication of the book "at this time".

In the letter, made public by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott on Israel, she invokes a comparison with the decision not to show the 1985 Steven Spielberg film of her novel in South Africa before the end of apartheid. A version of Ms Walker's classic story of an abused black woman set in the segregated US Deep South of the early 20th century was published in Hebrew in the 1980s.

But she says the testimony heard last year from Israelis and Palestinians by the private Russell Tribunal on Palestine, of which she was a member, was "devastating". The tribunal, which investigates alleged war crimes, has no legal status and is modelled on one set up during the Vietnam War by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and other intellectuals.

Ms Walker adds that having grown up "under American apartheid" she found that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians was "far worse"......"

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