Alice Walker, the African-American author of 'The Color Purple' has denied a request from an Israeli publisher to have her bestseller translated into Hebrew for publication. In a letter to Yediot Books of Israel, the author said she had decided to refuse the request after having concluded that Israel is "guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people."
'The Color Purple' recounted the experiences of African-American people of the 1930s as they faced racial discrimination and political oppression in the Deep South. Walker said she grew up under "American apartheid" and claims that Israel's treatment of Palestinians is worse than the treatment black South Africans received during the days of apartheid.
Walker wrote in a statement, "I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young, and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside. I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen. But now is not the time."
Abraham H. Foxman, who leads the Anti-Defamation League expressed sadness at the announcement. In a statement, Foxman said, "It is sad that people who inspire to fight bigotry and prejudice continue to have a biased and bigoted side. For some time Walker has been blinded by her anti-Israel animus. Unfortunately, this willful ignorance and bias against Israel has led her to exercise poor judgment in her publishing endeavors."
Like leftist and pro-Palestinian activists, Walker wants to pressure Israel to end its control over the Palestinian territory. Efforts in the U.S. have included financial support for the so-called Gaza Flotilla - a fleet of boats bearing activists supposedly carrying supplies to the Gaza Strip that sought to breach an Israeli maritime cordon - as well as boycotts of Israeli products, as well as divestment and sanctions.