The Pulitzer Prize winning author for “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker, has disallowed the Hebrew translated version of the novel from being published again, according to a report on Tuesday in Globes online.
Walker notified Yediot Books, an Israeli affiliate of the Yediot Ahronot Hebrew newspaper of her decision in a letter.
Her acclaimed novel which was also made into a movie by Stephen Spielberg and starred Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, was first published in Hebrew in 1984.
Walker’s letter was published by The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott on Israel on June 9.
She wrote: “It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason: As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.”
Walker, who is a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, wrote that she hoped the group “will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.”
Walker was also a participant in a flotilla to Gaza and has been critical of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.
In the letter, Walker recounts the decision of not showing “The Color Purple” in South Africa because of its apartheid: “I believe deeply in non-violent methods of social change though they sometimes seem to take forever, but I did regret not being able to share our movie, immediately, with (for instance) Winnie and Nelson Mandela and their children... Which is to say, I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young, and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside. I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen. But now is not the time.”
According to a report in Haaretz on Tuesday, it was not clear when Yediot Books made the request, or whether Walker could in fact stop translation of the book.