MECA Congratulates Alice Walker on Her Courageous Stand
This week, celebrated author, poet and activist, Alice Walker, told an Israeli publisher that she will not grant them permission to translate her Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, into Hebrew—in a move to support the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. In an open letter, Walker explained that she participated in the Russell Tribunal last fall in South Africa, which found that "Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories."
In an atmosphere in which many influential public figures shy away from criticizing Israeli policies, MECA congratulates Alice Walker on her courageous, moral, and principled act. We applaud her consistent long-time support of the Palestinian people’ struggle for human rights and against Israel’s military occupation.
Executive Director, Barbara Lubin, recalls, "When MECA opened in May 1988, one of the first people I called to join our Advisory Board was Alice Walker. She immediately said, 'Of course!” -- and ever since Alice has been a constant friend and supporter. Just last fall she spoke at a MECA event with one of her heroes, Electronic Intifada co-founder, Ali Abunimah. Alice has been one of the few progressives to hold one standard of justice for all children, including the children of Palestine.”
Lubin added, "It made me so happy to open The New York Times and read the article about Alice, and her statement that Israeli policies are almost identical to the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. She even put her life on the line by participating in the Flotilla to Gaza in 2011."
Associate Director, Ziad Abbas, remembers her support of the Palestinian Debka Troupe from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. "I will never forget how welcoming Alice was of the children who came here in 1999. She spoke with them all and encouraged their pioneering spirit, and she even invited them for lunch, to celebrate their incredible talent."
At this critical juncture in the struggle for Palestinian rights, MECA hopes Alice Walker's message reaches progressives who too often shy away from supporting the Palestinian people. We especially call on celebrities and public figures to follow Walker’s example: to uphold the principles of peace, justice, equality and freedom for all.