We often hear about the intolerance of the left toward those who stray from the accepted narrative, especially on college campuses, but it’s not often that we see reciprocation from the right.
The author of “The Color Purple” has been turned away from speaking at the University of Michigan because of her outspoken support of Palestinian rights.
Pultizer Prize winning author Alice Walker has been disinvited from giving the keynote at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for the Education of Women at the school because a donor objects to her views on Israel, according to Electronic Intifada.
In a 2011 interview with Foreign Policy, Walker described the United States and Israel as “terrorist organizations.”
“When you terrorize people, when you make them so afraid of you that they are just mentally and psychologically wounded for life — that’s terrorism,” she said.
Walker traveled to Gaza in 2009 with the anti-war group Code Pink and was aboard the ship “Audacity of Hope” during the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2011. She supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel and has compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Jim Crow laws she grew up with in the south.
An excerpt of a letter from an agent informing her that the invitation had been withdrawn was posted on Walker’s bog. It read, in part:
“I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with.
This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel.”
Calling the withdrawn invitation “Censorship by Purse String,” Walker wrote, “Such behavior, as evidenced by the donors, teaches us our weakness, which should eventually (and soon) show us our strength: women must be in control of our own finances.”
Upon being contacted by Electronic Intifada, the director of the Center for the Education of Women said it was all an “unfortunate misunderstanding,” adding that the invitation was withdrawn because Walker was not seen as the “optimum choice.”