Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin: Is Author Alice Walker an Anti-Semite?

Is author Alice Walker a Jew-hater?

Here is what we know.

Exhibit A: This past Sunday, in the pages of the New York Times Book Review, Ms. Walker endorsed “And The Truth Shall Set You Free,” by David Icke: “In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true.”

The problem? David Icke is notoriously anti-semitic. In fact, his publisher judged “And The Truth Shall Set You Free” too anti-semitic to release, and so Icke did it on his own.

Icke’s book blames a Jew for the Holocaust, and refers to the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, one of the greatest anti-semitic forgeries in history — a document that asserts that there is an international Jewish cabal that controls the world.

Exhibit B: Six years ago, Alice Walker refused to allow her classic book “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew.

This had nothing to do with the typical anti-Israel stuff.

This had everything to do with Hebrew, i.e., the language of the Jews.

This is a curious variant of what it means to be anti-semitic; it is someone who is anti-a particular semitic language.

Exhibit C: On her website, Alice Walker offers a poem titled, “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty To Study The Talmud.”

And, no — this wasn’t an advertisement for a yeshiva.

The poem engages in your usual anti-Israel screed.

But, then it takes an alarming turn.

We must go back
As grown ups, now,
Not as the gullible children we once were,
And study our programming,
From the beginning.
All of it: The Christian, the Jewish,
The Muslim; even the Buddhist. All of it, without exception,
At the root.

For the study of Israel, of Gaza, of Palestine,
Of the bombed out cities of the Middle East,
Of the creeping Palestination
Of our police, streets, and prisons
In America,
Of war in general,
It is our duty, I believe, to study The Talmud.
It is within this book that,
I believe, we will find answers
To some of the questions
That most perplex us.

She then names every crackpot, out of context, admittedly offensive but ahistoricized reference in the Talmud that she can find:

Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only
That, but to enjoy it?
Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?
Are young boys fair game for rape?
Must even the best of the Goyim (us, again) be killed?
Pause a moment and think what this could mean
Or already has meant
In our own lifetime.

Jews are no stranger to these words, and to these accusations.

There is a long history of anti-Talmud rhetoric in Jewish history. Such rhetoric dates back to the 1200s, when Inquisition officials in Spain put the Talmud on trial.

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Source: Religion News Service