After learning that Alicia Keys is slated to perform in Israel, Alice Walker, esteemed writer and activist –– most famous for the authoring of The Color Purple –– drafts a candid letter that voices her concern.
The 69 year-old writes:
Dear Alicia Keys,
I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.
Just last week, Alicia Keys made a statement to The New York Times in response to Alice Walker, who does not want the “Girl on Fire” singer to play in the apartheid country.
I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.
Others like Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, who also pens a letter on the web site of a group called the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, is equally concerned, writing:
Please, Alicia, do not lend your name to give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine.
Despite protests, Ms. Keys does not join the boycotting ranks of artists like Elvis Costello and the Pixies, and is more than fixed on moving forward with her July 4th performance in Tel Aviv, Israel.
So why is Alicia Keys set on playing in the Middle East? Surely the New York soulstress has her reasons.