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Alice Walker: My Heart is Breaking Too. Stop the Lies About Israel

Posted on June 7 2010 8:00 am
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.
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Alice Walker with Hamas lawmaker Huda Naim in Gaza (2009)

The lies have got to stop. They will not stop–but they are far too dangerous to go unchallenged.

Yes, I am talking about how our world well has been poisoned by brazen, crazy lies about Israel and about the Israeli Defense Forces. These lies come at us day after day, week after week, year after year, and they do not stop coming. The world is saying, as if in one voice: Jews, Israelis: Stop. Do not defend yourselves. You are defending a state that is not supposed to exist; its extermination or dissolution will alone bring peace to the Middle East, peace between America and the Muslim world, prosperity and the end of civil, tribal, and ethnic wars everywhere.

It is painfully clear. The world does not want a Jewish state. And, to understand that is to understand that the world does not want the Jews to live. Day by day, I understand more deeply how the Nazi Holocaust could actually have happened—and how another one might now be in the offing.

The Jews will prevail. Israel will not fail. But, the necessary cost will be so very high. My heart is breaking.

What an irony. Jews were ceaselessly persecuted when we did not have a state of our own. Today, the continued persecution of Jews everywhere is being justified on the basis of how much “trouble” Israel causes the world.

For example, the New York Times published two articles in their Week in Review section. I want to focus only on one. Written by Helene Cooper, it is the kind of piece intended to garner support for President Obama’s evolving foreign policy on Israel. Thus, Cooper suggests that Israel’s policy towards Gaza and towards the Turkish flotilla terrorists is endangering American interests in the Middle East and in the larger Muslim world. Read this journalist’s lips: Why should Americans die for Jews? Why not sacrifice the Jews? They deserve it, the Jews themselves, (of J Street, she quotes two of ‘em), say so and Jews can’t be anti-Semites, can they?.

Her piece is titled: What to Do About Israel?

I dunno. What should we “do” about Iran or Turkey? That seems a more pressing question. Focusing on Israel is precisely the way to avoid focusing on the llooming, larger dangers.

The African-American feminist and writer, Alice Walker, (with whom I go way back), has written a naieve and rather hate-filled piece about the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the IDF response to the Turkish terrorist boats. It has been widely reprinted, including on the website of JewsForJusticeforPalestine and, of course, at the SocialistWorker website too.

Walker begins:

My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.

For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep. Which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were in some cases, some of the best people on earth. They have not stood silently by and watched the destruction of others, brutally, sustained, without offering themselves, weaponless except for their bodies, to the situation. I am thankful to have a long history of knowing people like this from my earliest years, beginning in my student days of marches and demonstrations: for peace, for non-separation among peoples, for justice for Women, for People of Color, for Cubans, for Animals, for Indians, and for Her, the planet.

And Walker brings in Jim Crow, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Montgomery, Alabama, and the civil rights movement in order to present her view as hallowed by history, as holy. But her facts are all wrong.

Visit the Chesler Chronicles at Pajamas Media to continue reading.

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