Alice Walker Urges Alicia Keys To Boycott Israel

by Yesha Callahan

Alice Walker Urges Alicia Keys To Boycott Israel

Alicia Keys has been under fire for a July 4th concert that will take place in Israel. Keys will be playing the show as part of her current world tour but several organizations have asked the star to cancel the show due to ongoing conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians. Because of Israel’s history of violence against Palestinians, many American artists have outright refused to perform there. Although Keys has not addressed if she is going to cancel her performance, there have been pleas via petitions and from organizations like BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions).

Alice Walker has now joined the conversation by penning an open letter to Keys, asking that she research Israel’s history against Palestine and cancel her performance:

“Dear Alicia Keys,

I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.

If you go to my website and blog you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.

With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,

Alice Walker”


What do you think about the letter? Should Keys cancel the concert?

  • Karyn

    “You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid….”

    *sigh* I love Alice Walker.

    Alicia Keys (-_- ) *side eye*

  • KissOfDanger

    Aren’t these the same Palestinians who have Dinka slaves, and call us black monkeys? A Palestinian wouldn’t spit on us if we were on fire. The Arab world isn’t very kindly to blacks. The Jews are wrong, but win some and lose some. I’m sick of black people being mercenaries in wars that have NOTHING to do with us. Let them figure it out themselves. We have bigger issues like Sudan cutting off the oil pipeline from South Sudan. Let’s worry about that.

  • talaktochoba

    maybe if she moved the venue of her concert to the occupied areas under dispute by both nations–that would elevate her to Marion Anderson/Paul Robeson levels;

  • Steve Balboa

    Alice Walker is a racist, plain and simple. If you want to see true apartheid, visit the “Palestinian” territories or any Arab/Muslim country.

  • Anthony

    My honest opinion is that the Israelis do mistreat the Palestinians. That said, for all of their shortcomings, American Jews, as a group, have been less racist than other white Americans. This definitely shows up in their voting patterns. It is also my opinion that Palestinians have never shown sympathy for black people on any level beyond that of their major activists or intellectuals.
    As another poster said, I don’t see any benefit for us getting in a fight between two sets of white people.

  • Jazo

    Jesus Christ in whom I believe was a Jewish Carpenter, Alice needs to fight another kind of fight. She will lose this one.

  • Anthony

    Genetically, studies have shown that the Israelis, Palestinians, and Lebanese, are all closely related. Palestinians say Jesus was a Palestinian and they may be right because I am sure more than a few Muslim or Christian Palestinians had Jewish ancestors. Once again, this deep interconnectedness is why I think Black Folks need to stay out of this fight.

  • Anthony

    The Dinkas in Israel are refugees from the long war between Sudan and what is now South Sudan who have been treated pretty badly by the Israeli government. Some of these people may well be living on the margins in the West Bank or Gaza, but the Palestinians did not seek them out. Both Israelis and Palestinians have some serious issues with race, and I think we would do well to leave that whole conflict alone.

  • Anthony

    Dear SMH:

    If you write again, I’m a let Swizz Beatz your azz!


  • jamesfrmphilly

    walker hated on black men, married a white man and now defends arabs?

    she can kiss my enter key

  • Tony

    The Jews and Muslims is not black folks fight.

    Alice Walker might possibly be the most selfish self righteous black feminist ive ever seen. Her hate for black men lead her to marriage and numerous failed relationships with white men. When all of those ended horribly she turned lesbian. lol Her objective now is to lick on YOUNG black women and getting them to lick on each other. Thats why she’s pushing this womanism and wait to get married nonsense. ie wait until your man options are limited and a relationship with women has to be considered for companionship. She is nothing more than a self absorbed, selfish dirty old woman. Dont beleive me? Look up Alice Walkers daughter and read what she has to say about her own mother.

  • rena215

    @Steve Balboa,

    I have visited the West Bank recently and did not personally experience any racism until I crossed back over into Israel. Go figure.

  • The Other Jess

    This has nothing to do with whether Jesus was Jewish or not. It has to do with protesting the government of a country with incredible human rights violations, war crimes, and an apartheid-like sanctioned social system. Alicia Keys should boycott it, but she probably won’t. You know Stars….

  • The Other Jess

    So what? Harry Belafonte married a white woman and he protests against injustice til this day. Why can’t Alice Walker? Double standard for Black women, huh?

  • lula

    Palestinians were actually very active in the fight against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. This is not about white This is a human rights issue, you can care about the rights of people in South Sudan and the rights of Palestinians. They are not mutually exclusive.

  • The Other Jess

    Please. the Palestinians are not currently in the position to enslave anybody.

    And BTW, it’s Israel that discriminated regularly against African immigrants, and then kicked out thousands of African migrants because they did not want a large population of Blacks in Israel. You need to learn your facts on Israel. Truly a very racist country against Blacks if you try to stay there.

  • The Other Jess

    Her statement isn’t about American Jews just as South Africans and apartheid wasn’t about American Blacks. And Palestinians are far from white.

    But while I consider Israel the aggressor and totally wrong in this case and very hypocritical being what they suffered at the hands of Europeans, I do agree that this is not an argument for Black Americans to waste our time with. The Palestinians and Israelis need to figure this one out themselves because neither side would stand up in any effective way for Black Americans if it came to it.

    Plus, there are many other conflicts between different ethnic groups going on in the world so it’s unfair to only hear about / pay taxes to support Israel all the time. Their conflict is not the most important in the world.

  • Anthony

    I agree with most of what you say but most Palestinians are white. Some are olive skinned, but many look just Europeans when they wear western clothes. Just look at pictures of the late Edward Said or Professor Radhid Khalidi.

  • Anthony

    I don’t care about he personal issues, I just disagree with getting caught up in the Israel Palestine conflict.

  • Sarah

    We have blacks killing other blacks everyday over money and other materialistic items, should Alicia boycott all blacks for what a few do.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    where have you sen me apply a double standard?

  • The Other Jess

    Blacks are a people – Israel is a country. Nobody saod anything about boycotting Jewish people. She said boycott Israel. Get a clue.

  • victoria

    Having a former co-worker from Lebanon, he told me about the Lebanese Civil War. To make a long story short… decades ago, Lebanon had a large Christian population (the largest in the Middle East at the time) and was the only Middle Eastern nation to accept Palestian refugees (majority Muslim nations refused to accept their brothers and sisters). To make a short story even shorter, the Palestinian population grew in large numbers while living in their new homeland. They didnt like what they saw (too many Christians) and started a war. The Lebanese Civil War. The Palestinians arent innocent liitle bugs being stomped on.

  • victoria


  • vicoria

    My vousin lived and went to theology school in Israel. She loved it. Everyone has different experiences.

  • victoria

    Ive read a few articles about their mother-daughter relationship. Sad tale.

  • Anthony

    Victoria, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Palestinian population was 20% Christian, and until the Intifada, the main Palestinian movement (PLO,) was secular. Most of the Christians have left the region and they are now about 2% of the population.

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  • Joe

    But the multi-culti experiment is not working out anywhere terribly well

  • Jennifer

    So this is my first time posting here and I’m only posting to address some of what others are saying.

    I am a white, Jewish, American woman. I am not Israeli but I am a diehard Zionist and supporter of israel. I am mostly secular but am definitely a practicing Jew and I live in a city where there is a large Jewish population.

    That said, Jews by nature are not racist against blacks, in fact, Jews were largely the ones on the “white” side of the fence who fought for blacks to have civil rights, which is why MLK was such a fan of Jews and Israel.

    As for the African refugees coming into Israel–a couple of things to consider–firstly, if Israel were so unjust, evil, and racist, these people wouldn’t be risking their lives to traverse other African nations (like Egypt for instance) just to get into Israel. That these people have chosen Israel as their ultimate destination should speak volumes about Israel. As for the way Israel treats them–I personally think they should all be allowed to stay BUT please bear in mind that Israel is a tiny nation that is constantly under attack and these African refugees do not speak Hebrew or have any viable education to easily become productive in Israeli society and Israel simply does not have the resources to support potentially millions of African refugees who do not work and have no work prospects. Also, some of them engage in crime NOT because they are black but because they need to eat and therefore they may be associated with a rise in crime in Israel which is not something any nation would want. Obviously, a solution has to be found whereby anyone seeking refuge from war torn Sudan needs to be given some shelter and provisions but tiny Israel cannot do it alone and that does NOT make Israel racist against blacks. Plenty of black Jews from Ethiopia were flown into Israel and given stipends and homes, etc.

    Some of you said that this conflict in the middle east is not something American blacks should get involved in. Certainly you won’t solve this from afar. But it should not be an issue of racism because Israelis are NOT inherently racist at all.

    I personally am not a racist of any kind and am very disappointed in Alice Walker because her letter reeks of classic Antisemitism AND she’s a hypocrite because she doesn’t care about palestinians, she just hates Jews and it shows in her words and deeds.

    I am curious about something though–as for the African refugees in Israel, most, if not all of them would like to remain in Israel permanently. One option it seems Israel did not consider is that blacks have a huge advantage that Jews don’t–blacks tend to be physically strong, whereas Jews are known for being intellectually strong but not so much physically strong. What if these African refugees fought for the IDF, after which they’d have learned Hebrew and would be pretty well equipped to get jobs in Israel and therefore became a productive part of society…would any of you take this as an offense if Israelis allowed them all to stay on condition that they join the IDF?

    I am NOT a spokesperson for Israel, nor has this notion been considered in Israel, the idea is mine alone and I am just curious what African Americans would think of such an arrangement?

  • LemonNLime

    “I personally am not a racist of any kind…”

    “…blacks tend to be physically strong, whereas Jews are known for being intellectually strong but not so much physically strong…what if these African refugees fought for the IDF”

    So the blacks aren’t as smart as the Jews and therefore, if they want to stay in Israel, they should fight Israel’s wars to earn their keep?

    Sure you’re not a racist at all. *side eye*

  • Jennifer

    LOL! You are way too bitter, angry, and resentful for your own good.

    Curious though why you or anyone would think that a nation providing foreigners a permanent home in exchange that they provide something productive for the nation is leeching off of them? Last time I checked, foreigners who come to America are expected to work and provide something back, not given a free ride.

    Not sure why Israel should be any different…?

    As for your tax dollars, I can’t imagine it’s slipped your mind that American Jews are likely providing a rather large chunk of it, after all, aren’t we the ones with all the money in your Jew hating fantasies…?

    Btw, you are using Israeli technology right now so who’s the parasite…?

  • AgeRi

    If Alice Walker is advocating for the human rights of Palestinians, how can she be Antisemitic? Palestinians are semites too.

  • Jennifer

    I never said that blacks aren’t as smart as Jews…what I said was that while Jews tend to be intellectually strong, they’re not physically strong. Nowhere there did I make a comparison of smarts between the two ethnicities of blacks vs Jews.

    If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail….

  • AgeRi

    “Jews by nature are not racist against blacks, in fact, Jews were largely the ones on the ‘white’ side of the fence who fought for blacks to have civil rights, which is why MLK was such a fan of Jews and Israel.”

    That was +/- half a century ago. What about black / white Jewish relations now? Your reference to black physicality (i.e., “blacks tend to be physically strong”) in contrast to Jewish intellect(uality) (i.e., “Jews are known for being intellectually strong but not so much physically strong”) shows that YOU have plenty potential to stereotype and make assumptions about people’s intellectual and physical characteristics on the basis of race…

  • Jennifer

    Antisemitism by definition is hatred of Jews, not all semites.

    And she is NOT advocating for the rights of palestinians, she’s advocating for the destruction of Israel…very big difference.

  • Jennifer

    Sorry, this comment was directed at SMH, not meant to be here in the middle of nowhere, lol.

  • LemonNLime

    YOU implied that in your statement. Might I suggest you take your racist ass to another site? Unfortunately for you, many of the black women and men who frequent this site are both physically and intellectually strong and we don’t tolerate other people’s racist bulls*** very well.

  • Jennifer

    I never compared blacks vs Jews as far as intellect goes. I merely spoke of Jews strictly in being smart but not strong. In comparing blacks v. Jews, I only spoke of physical strength.

    And are you suggesting that Jews have changed in the last half century?

    If you believe that Jews are racist against blacks as a whole (not speaking of individuals) would you please give me some examples of it and/or state why you think so?

    I am here because I am curious about other people’s opinions, not trying to change anyone’s mind, just speaking from another perspective.

  • Jennifer

    @lemonlime, for some reason, I can’t reply to your post so I am replying here–I did NOT imply anything, you chose to read what you want into it, which is largely where the problem lies–people don’t want to listen, they just want to persist in their own opinions that often have no basis.

    I meant what I said and I said what I meant, I did not imply anything unless I came out and spelled it out.

    I am not a racist and we are still a nation that allows free speech. Your attempt to silence me speaks of your own weakness and insecurity and nothing more.

  • Chipster

    To the original question – No!

  • LemonNLime

    Right, we are in a nation that allows free speech. That is exactly why you are allow to talk your racist stereotypes and I’m allowed to suggest you take it somewhere else.

    Your lack of understanding your own comparison, especially in a forum where the people commenting have dealt with the stereotype that because of their skin color they are physically gifted but not mentally (one of the many justifications for slavery I might add), does nothing but show that at least one Jewish person is not as “intellectually strong” as she noted.

  • SayWhat

    @ Jennifer. I always hear Jewish people brag about how you flew Ethiopian jews to Israel, but never a peep about how you sterilize them. If any nation on earth were to sterilize a white jew we would never hear the end of it, but you have no trouble doing it to your black brethren.

    Second point, immigrants flock to Israel because they are following the money and the (pipe) dream, same as immigrants do with America and there is no denying that we are racist and treat brown people like s@#@!.

    Bottom line for me is that Israel is like a smaller version of America, powerful, elite, full of opportunity…..if you also happen to be white, the only difference is that you are better at deceiving people about how you view ‘others’.

  • Anthony

    The stereotype of Jewish weakness reeks of ignorance of your own history. Have you ever heard of Hank Goldberg, Al Rosen, Sandy Koufax, or any number of great Jewish athletes in American baseball, football, basketball, or any number of other sports. I’m sure the Jewish mobsters who ran the Speakeasies and founded Las Vegas like Buggsy Siegal were not weaklings or wimps either. Needless to say, killers like those in the Irgun did pretty well taking out both Arabs and the British.

    As for your suggestion about African refugees fighting for the IDF, I’m sure many would. Neither South Sudanese or Eritreans have any love lost when it comes to Arabs, and they also tend to have excellent Arab skills too (definitely a skill that requires intelligence, not brawn.) Many also have military training already, especially Eritreans.

  • Ms. Vee



  • Pingback: – Alice Walker urges Alicia Keys to rethink Israel Concert

  • Black People

    Middle Easterners and Palestinians are no ally to blacks/Africans worldwide. Israel is hardcore racist towards blacks though. Forced sterilization on African women of all ethnicities; Ethiopians, Sudan, etc. Forced shootings at their border. Israel even made deals with Egypt to shoot black Africans at the border. Massive racist demonstrations are like clockwork in Israel for the removal, detainment, and arrests of black Africans in Israel. See, if Alice Walker had wanted Alicia Keys to protest Israel over that, I wouldn’t have any problem. But the mere fact that another race comes before black Africans again is painful to bear. Why are black people always marching, fighting, and demonstrating for other races worldwide, but the same people couldn’t give a damn about black people. Once again black people put other races over themselves worldwide. Genocide and ethic cleansing in Sudan, Congo, and other places in Africa, Papua Guinea has genocide and ethic cleansing, and in South America ethic cleansing and mass murder happened in Columbia and Brazil by state police. Do black people care about these atrocities? Do Palestinians? Do Jews/Israelis? The only people who are going to care for black people are black people. No one else. Black people support every race, help every race, and love every race except their own. But other races on planet earth have no problem watching blacks get annihilated.

  • Go Easy on Her

    I’ve never been a big Alice Walker fan, but I have to say something about this thread.

    I’m a little taken aback by the harsh, ad hominem attacks many of you have made. You don’t have to be a fan, and you can certainly criticize her, but her personal relationships are hers to struggle through. Few people handle relationships perfectly.

    I wish her well.

  • Anthony

    I don’t think too many of us would look good if the details of our personal relationships were known to the public.

  • The Other Jess

    Well, sorry Jennifer, but the Jewish people are foreigners who were provided a permanent home in the land now-called Israel. Palestine provided Jewish people a home, but then you dumped allover the people that already lived there, the Palestinians.

    Either way, no, I don’t think Black people should involve ourselves in other people’s wars, and especially not to take the side of racists like you.

    Everything you have said shows what kind of idiot racist you are – and yes, although you believe yourself to be intellectually superior to all of us Black people, your statements continuously prove you to be a knuckle-dragging racist IDIOT.

  • talaktochoba

    I’ve been waiting for some time for anyone to draw the distinction between Hamitic and Semitic Jews for they are two entirely different things and bear almost no relation;

    it is the Hamitic Jews whom the bible is chiefly about and a historical record of, and to this day are far more authentic adherents of Christianity;

    it is the Semitic Jews who fought the British after WWII to establish their nation in the Palestinian lands out of one of England’s last colonial possessions, who kicked out/wiped out first the nomadic tribes then the Jews who did not practise the faith “properly”, then forbade the “un-authentic” (read Coptic, or Ethiopian) Jews from immigrating to “the new Jewish homeland”;

    and i believe that ban is still in effect, though it has a way to go to match the US ban on immigrants from Africa, which lasted from 1781 til 1965;

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