Walker Woes

There is no doubt that Alice Walker is a gifted writer (Pacific Sun/Bohemian April 6-12). But there is also no doubt that she is deeply antisemitic. It is ironic that the Pacific Sun extolls her just weeks after reporting on the increase in antisemitism in Marin and Sonoma counties.

In an interview with The New York Times, Walker expressed her support for David Ickes, who contends that if the Holocaust happened, it was funded by Jews, and that Jews are part human and part lizard. 

On her blog, Walker wrote that Jews are “the Reptilian space beings whose hybrid (part human, part reptile) descendants make our lives hell.” With antisemitism exploding in the U.S. and around the world, do we really need to provide a platform for those who espouse such unrelenting (and irrational) hatred of Jews? 

Daniel Shiner

Mill Valley

Reporter’s Reply

I appreciate Daniel Shiner’s comments.

As a Jew who is deeply aware of antiSemitism, I deplore most of Alice Walker’s comments about Jews. 

Walker is a greatly imperfect human being; she has made other comments about people and race and sex and ethnicity and class that are no less deplorable. 

I didn’t feel that it made sense to focus on her views of Jews and Israel in a short review. In a long analytical piece on the totality of her world views, I would have done so. Walker is a ball of contradictions. 

Her romantic views of Mendocino hippies are nearly as obtuse as her views of Israel. Too bad she doesn’t have it more together. I won’t get into Greg Sarris, who has a Jewish mother and doesn’t say anything about her.

Jonah Raskin

San Francisco


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