Alice Walker Asks Alicia Keys To Scrap Israel Show and Join Cultural Boycott

Songbird Is Slated To Perform in Tel Aviv on July 4

Controversial Show: Songbird Alicia Keys is scheduled to perform on July 4 in Israel. Alice Walker is trying to get her to cancel the gig and join the cultural blockade.
getty images
Controversial Show: Songbird Alicia Keys is scheduled to perform on July 4 in Israel. Alice Walker is trying to get her to cancel the gig and join the cultural blockade.

By JTA

Published May 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Novelist Alice Walker, who is slated to speak at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y, called on singer Alicia Keys to boycott Israel and cancel a scheduled concert there.

In an open letter posted on her website, Walker wrote, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

Keys is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 4.

Walker, who is slated to speak Thursday at the Y, has called Israel the world’s “biggest terrorist,” described suicide bombings as “last-ditch resistance” in saying it was dishonest to engage in “blaming the oppressed for using their bodies where the Israeli army uses armored tanks,” and refused to allow “The Color Purple,” her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about black life in the segregated South, to be translated into Hebrew. She also participated in a flotilla of ships attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

A group called JCC Watch called on the 92nd Street Y to cancel Thursday’s event with Walker, at which she is scheduled to discuss her activism and her writing with Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The Y did not respond to a request seeking comment.

“A cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major ‘crime’ is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own,” Walker wrote in her letter to Keys. “This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.