Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Alice Walker sparred with protesters outside the 92nd Street Y on May 30, 2013, telling them about Israel, "it wasn't your land."

Walker was insistent that the land of Israel does not belong to the Jews, but was given to them by the United Nations.  And she insisted that the land already belonged to someone else – the Arab Palestinians.  Repeated efforts by protesters to inform her otherwise fell on deaf ears.

One man wearing an orange cap repeatedly tried to inform her that the “land is ours,” but Walker refused, at one point screwing up her face and asking, “Are you going to tell me God gave it to you? That you are special and nobody else is?” Her interlocutor, however, tried to determine whether Walker was familiar with the San Remo Resolution or the Balfour Declaration.

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Walker’s response? “I don’t care what it says.”

The San Remo Resolution was a reference to the 1920 San Remo conference at which World War I allies affirmed the 1917 Balfour Declaration pledging the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Walker continued to engage with the protesters, although she became increasingly flustered.  At one point one of the protesters said to Walker, “you are a hater and a liar.”

“The names that you call me don’t matter,” responded Walker.  “The truth stands.”  “Is it right for you to take other people’s property? You are encroaching on other people’s property.  You are taking more than they gave you.”

“And how about the suicide bombers,” another protester responded to Walker. “They are taking lives!”

“Suicide bombers are wrong,” Walker acknowledged, “but one wrong does not deserve another.  It is also wrong to deny people common decency and health.”

And so the two sides continued asserting their own views until Walker made her way past the protesters and into the welcoming arms of the 92nd Street Y.

Allen of JCC Watch told The Jewish Press the morning after the Walker event that his organization will be kicking off a “Close Your Wallets” campaign.

“We will be watching those institutions supported by Jewish charitable donations which host anti-Israel programming,” Allen promised. “We want to know who is responsible for this kind of programming?  Who is pushing this agenda?”  And, he added, “if the Y won’t stop it, will the UJA-Federation stop funding them?”

Allen echoed a comment made by Sidi, “this isn’t about free speech, no one is saying Walker can’t say whatever she wants, however false and hateful it is, but we don’t have to subsidize it.  And we want people to know this is happening with their money.”

Late Friday afternoon Alicia Keys announced her rejection of Walker’s effort to recruit her into the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement, in which Walker plays a prominent role. Keys told the New York Times, “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

47 COMMENTS

  1. The problem with her one dimensional stance on Israel, and that of U.S. involvement, is there are many complexities and layers to political issues and it varies, over time, with circumstances, regimes, and public opinion which are germane to the influence and stability of neighboring Muslim run countries.

  2. It’s interesting for a group of people who have been so persecuted, the attitude of many blacks towards Israel and the Jews is odd to say the least. Especially when the Jews have been on the side of black peoples rights. Yet, the very people who introduced and perpetrated much of the slave trade, the Muslims, the blacks have championed their cause, go figure. I think it would behoove the blacks to go back and reread their history books.

  3. It's interesting for a group of people who have been so persecuted, the attitude of many blacks towards Israel and the Jews is odd to say the least. Especially when the Jews have been on the side of black peoples rights. Yet, the very people who introduced and perpetrated much of the slave trade, the Muslims, the blacks have championed their cause, go figure. I think it would behoove the blacks to go back and reread their history books.

  4. Even her family came ut against her last month. No wonder the rape denying whoopie goldberg portrayed her on the screen. Jews that have donated to the Y in the past need to re-evaluate their spending!

  5. John Seigle II Reading your FB page is like reading a what's what of the cult and Mein Kampf. I am always amazed how racists and Jew haters, the foundation of the Democratic Party, troll Jewish sites to spew forth. Now go ahead and regale us, as you do on your FB page, that any critique of obama and socialism is treasonous.

    Jonestown Guyana – the final destination of the Democratic Party

  6. In regard to Walker’s statement (threat) that Keys faces “soul danger” if she performs in Israel, for her information after Roger Waters “convinced” Stevie Wonder not to perform for the IDF event in Los Angeles, he was replaced by Chaka Khan and the event was a huge success. Last time I looked Chaka’s soul was still intact and singing with all the “soul” of Wonder and much more. In fact, if anything Keys can expect an enhanced “soul” from her courageous decision to ignore the likes of Walker and her minions – not to mention a whole host of new fans including the many Jewish members of the music business who have long memories and will remember those who turn their backs and those who stand up to the lies and threats.

  7. In regard to Walker's statement (threat) that Keys faces "soul danger" if she performs in Israel, for her information after Waters "convinced" Stevie Wonder not to perform for the IDF event in Los Angeles, he was replaced by Chaka Khan and the event was a huge success. Last time I looked Chaka's soul was still intact and singing with all the "soul" of Wonder and much more. In fact, if anything Keys can expected an enhanced "soul" from her courageous decision to ignore the likes of Water and her minions – not to mention a whole host of new fans including the many Jewish members of the music business who have long memories and will remember those who turn their backs and those who stand up to the lies and threats.

  8. “I will bless those who bless them, and curse those who curse them” Genesis12:3.
    I would suggest the virulent Jew-haters and self-hating Jews pay attention to the above admonition.

  9. "I will bless those who bless them, and curse those who curse them" Genesis12:3.
    I would suggest the virulent Jew-haters and self-hating Jews pay attention to the above admonition.

  10. John, you seem to be very uninformed as to the reality of the Israeli Palestinian situation. Or could it be that your sources of information is coming from anti-Semitic propaganda. Do some unbiased research to open your mind to the truth.

  11. John, you seem to be very uninformed as to the reality of the Israeli Palestinian situation. Or could it be that your sources of information is coming from anti-Semitic propaganda. Do some unbiased research to open your mind to the truth.

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