Opinion: Alice Walker and the Flotilla

By Larry Brook, editor/publisher

In high school, one of the books we were assigned to read was “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. Because of the book, she is a celebrated figure in this nation; around here she is also known for her time living in Mississippi with a Jewish husband, reportedly the first legal interracial couple in the state. But reverence for her should be called into question, based on her recent actions and words.

As an author, she should well be aware of the power of words; as a writer of historical fiction, she also should be well aware of symbolism. She recently made a very public stand about participating in this year’s flotilla to Gaza, with reasoning so twisted it would make a pretzel manufacturer blush.

The Gaza flotilla, which thankfully fell apart, claims to be a humanitarian effort to help Gaza residents who are presumably suffering from Israel’s blockade. Ships were to set sail from Greece and other Mediterranean nations in an effort to break the blockade physically, or to provoke Israel into a reaction that would cause worldwide condemnation and force an end to the blockade.

After Hamas, a terrorist organization that has launched thousands of rockets into Southern Israel, took over, Israel imposed a blockade against materials that could be used in a military fashion. Food and medicine is being allowed through; things such as concrete are a different story (though Israel recently approved a great deal of construction for Gaza). Flotilla organizers were told that any humanitarian cargo could come through proper channels and be routed directly to Gaza; the offer was refused.

Of course, “The Audacity of Hope,” the ship Walker was set to board, was simply bringing letters of solidarity to the residents of Gaza, hardly humanitarian aid.

Recently, Somalia was named as the biggest humanitarian crisis on the planet; don’t hold your breath waiting for the flotilla “humanitarians” to rub together two brain cells on dealing with that problem.

In “Why I’m Sailing to Gaza,” Walker made numerous odious and disingenuous comparisons to the Jim Crow era in the South. That comparison would be more accurate only if blacks were bombing white churches and buses, or randomly killing whites, instead of the other way around.

She also speaks of her participation as a reverential tribute to all the Jews who came to the aid of blacks in the Civil Rights struggle, most notably Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who were killed in Neshoba County, Miss. Because of the debt she feels to those Jews, she is riding on a flotilla to support those who seek the mass murder of Jews. If that is her idea of gratitude, what must her idea of revenge be?

Not only that, but she recently was quoted as saying that “Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world,” and that “in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.”

Clearly, Walker’s status as a literary icon of civil rights and tolerance must be called into question, not to mention the direction of her moral compass.

Instead of being a celebrated figure, there is another term that more accurately describes her. It’s a term made popular by Stalin — useful idiot.