December 20, 2018
News Press Release

ZOA Criticizes NYTimes Alice Walker Interview, Ignoring Her Anti-Semitism & Anti-Semitism Of Robert Icke Book She Praised

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the New York Times Book Review for publishing an interview with Alice Walker, in which the anti-Semitic author spent much time lauding the work of another anti-Semite – David Icke – entitled, And the Truth Shall Set You Free. In addition to praising the work, the Times did not even inform its readers of its anti-Semitic contents, thus assisting its sales and quite likely resulting in the purchases by many thousands of people of a work they might not otherwise have touched had they been aware of its anti-Semitic contents.

It is truly remarkable, even in this frightening period we have entered in which anti-Semitism is being normalized rapidly and widely in a way that would have been simply inconceivable even a few short years ago, that the New York Times can even contemplate, let alone actually enable an anti-Semite like Alice Walker, to recommend a deranged, anti-Semitic tract to its readers without even the slightest indication as to the toxic nature of the book.

From the Times interview with Walker, we learn that Icke’s book is one of four books that sit on Walker’s nightstand. And the Truth Shall Set You Free is an anti-Semitic conspiracy tract written by a notorious British anti-Semite who claims that a Jewish cabal controls world affairs; that B’nai B’rith was behind the slave trade (an anti-Semitic canard popularized by black supremacist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan) and controls the Ku Klux Klan; that the British far-right violent group, Combat 18, is actually run by Jews; and that there is undoubtedly a New World Order conspiracy and the only question is how many Jews are part of it. 

Icke also calls the ancient Jewish religious codification of Jewish practice and lore, the Talmud, “among the most appallingly racist documents on the planet.” Not least, Icke is an advocate of the view that Jews bankrolled their own extermination in the Holocaust, an event whose occurrence he elsewhere questions. (An indicator of Icke’s obsession with Jews is apparent from the fact that in his book –– self-published, as no reputable publisher would touch it –– the word ‘Jewish’ appears 241 times, and the name ‘Rothschild’ is mentioned 374 times and the classic anti-Semitic tract, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is drawn upon copiously).

This is not the first time Walker has enthused about the writings of David Icke. In June 2013, Walker wrote a blog post extravagantly praising another Icke book, Human Race Get Off Your Knees. Displaying her absolute identification with Icke’s wild conspiracy theories, she wrote, “I felt it was the first time I was able to observe, and mostly imagine and comprehend, the root of the incredible evil that has engulfed our planet.” And in May 2013, Walker told the BBC’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ program that, if she could have only one book, it would be Icke’s Human Race Get Off Your Knees.

In July 2015, Walker shared an interview between David Icke and Alex Jones, an American counterpart to Icke. The account that posted the video has since been banned from YouTube. In September 2016, Walker promoted a lecture of Icke’s to her readers, writing, “I decided to find, among Icke’s numerous videos, one lecture that might offer an introduction that wouldn’t be too scary for folks leery of being nudged in a direction of inquiry that might upset, destroy possibly, their worldview. I think this one might fit the bill.” YouTube has since taken down that lecture as well.

Walker as also engaged in anti-Semitic utterances in her own right, posting in November 2017 an explicitly anti-Semitic “poem” on her blog entitled, ‘It Is Our (Frightful) Duty To Study The Talmud,’ in which Walker blames all the world’s ills, from Israel to America, on the Talmud, also attacking Jews as murderers of Jesus and insisting that Jews view gentiles as ‘sub-human’ (Yair Rosenberg, ‘The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book,’ New York Times Book Review, December 17, 2018).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is truly remarkable, even in this frightening period we have entered in which anti-Semitism is being normalized rapidly and widely in a way that would have been simply inconceivable even a few short years ago, that the New York Times can even contemplate, let alone actually enable an anti-Semite like Alice Walker, to recommend a deranged, anti-Semitic tract to its readers without even the slightest indication as to the toxic nature of the book.

“Worse, the Times give an enormous puff to Walker without even investigating briefly her views on Jews, let alone critiquing it for the benefit of their readers. Nor is this the first time that the New York Times has failed the test: in 2015, its reporter Michael Paulson similarly failed to raise the issue of her anti-Semitism, despite collecting questions for her in advance on Twitter, several of which broached the subject.

“By any yardstick, this is an extraordinary dereliction of duty by the New York Times as well as an appalling, indeed sinister, editorial decision that only shows that the Times is unconcerned about anti-Semitism and is neutral, and even laudatory, of one of its promoters and its content, to assist injecting the anti-Semitic toxin into the national bloodstream.

“The New York Times should immediately apologize to American Jews; indeed, to the whole nation ––– aiding anti-Semitism is a disservice and threat to all societies. Historically, societies that embraced anti-Semitism have been either destroyed or demoralized and shrunk from former greatness. It should also strive at this late date to undo some of the harm it has caused by informing its readers in detail of the anti-Semitic bona fides of Alice Walker.”