Mississippi Book Festival sticking with Alice Walker despite her link to conspiracy theorist
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Acclaimed author Alice Walker was disinvited from a book festival in California days before it was announced that she was to speak at the Mississippi Book Festival.
The Bay Area Book Festival rescinded their invitation due to what they called Walker’s “endorsement of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke.”
Ellen Daniels, the executive director of the Mississippi Book Festival, says that they were aware of Walker’s past comments, but invited her anyway “to honor the 40th anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘The Color Purple’ and the release of ‘Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker, 1965–2000′.”
“Ms. Walker will speak about the legacy of her groundbreaking work in ‘The Color Purple’ and her time living in Mississippi, covered in her journals, with Mississippi writer Kiese Laymon,” she continued.
Over the course of several years, Walker, the Pulitzer-prize winning author of “The Color Purple,” has been scrutinized for her admiration of Icke.
The controversy began when, during a Q&A with the The New York Times in late 2018, Walker was asked, What books are on your nightstand?
One of those books was “And the Truth Shall Set You Free,” which is authored by Icke. She described this book as “a curious person’s dream come true.”
In “And the Truth Shall Set You Free,” Icke states that Jews themselves are behind anti-Semitic attacks and that Holocaust denial should be taught in school.
“Why do we play a part in suppressing alternative information to the official line of the Second World War? How is it right that while this fierce suppression goes on, free copies of the Spielberg film, Schindler’s List, are given to schools to indoctrinate children with the unchallenged version of events?” Icke writes.
According to Tablet, the book was deemed so anti-Semitic that Icke had to print the book himself.
In the past, the soccer-player-turned-conspiracy-theorist has also argued that the Illuminati governs the world and that those in the organization are the descendants of a child-eating, reptilian people. Every U.S. president, he believes, was one of these lizards.
Icke has said that he is, in fact, not anti-Semitic. As Vox writes, Icke believes “that he is criticizing not real Jews, but 12-foot-tall alien lizard people, many of whom just happen to be posing as Jews.”
His other beliefs include that the moon is a surveillance system (built by the lizard people) and that he himself is “the son of a Godhead.”
After the subsequent uproar over why Icke’s book was on Walker’s nightstand, Walker stood her ground, writing on her website that Icke was “brave enough to ask the questions others fear to ask.”
“There is no fair reading of Icke’s work that could be seen as not anti-Semitic,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, told The New York Times in the days after Walker’s original Q&A with the newspaper of record.
Walker has also been been criticized for her “terrible anti-Semitic poem” entitled “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty.”
Walker, who is ardently pro-Palestine, has compared Israel’s treatment of Palestine to that of Nazi Germany. Because of this stance, she has not allowed an Israeli publisher to release a Hebrew translation of “The Color Purple.”
Flash forward to March 25 of 2022, when The Bay Area Book Festival rescinded their invitation to Walker, stating they “were aware of the fact that Alice Walker had made some controversial statements in the past” but that they “weren’t aware of the extent of it.”
The festival made it clear, however, that their decision to rescind their invitation to Walker was not due to her pro-Palestinian views, but because of her steadfast endorsement of Icke.
Then, days after being disinvited by the Bay Area Book Festival, it was announced that Walker was to be a featured speaker at the Mississippi Book Festival.
This year’s Mississippi Book Festival will be hosted at the state capitol on Saturday, August 20.
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