The University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women has withdrawn an invitation for author and anti-Israel activist Alice Walker to speak at its 50th anniversary event next year.
According to Walker, the invitation was rescinded because of objections by donors to her anti-Israel activities. On her blog she published part of a letter from her agent which reads: “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.”
Gloria Thomas, director of the Center, wrote on the organization’s website that the withdrawal had nothing to do with Israel.
“Upon further research, I decided to withdraw our invitation because I did not think Ms. Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event,” he said, “Donors had no bearing on this decision. Our 50th anniversary funding is completely assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech.“
Walker, whose first husband was Jewish, holds extreme anti-Israel positions. In 2011 she gave an interview to the vehemently anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada in which she said of Israelis, “I think that we are dealing with people of high irrationality, to put it really kindly… The facts are that we are dealing with some very brutal people; people indoctrinated over a long period of time. And a military that obviously is insensitive to the sufferings of other people.”
Her latest book, Cushion in the Road, was considered so hostile to Israel that the Anti-Defamation League deemed it anti-Semitic.
“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before. Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions,” the ADL wrote.