Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Taking A Stand For Censorship

An article by Jonathan S. Tobin in Commentary shows how taking the wrong stand can lead to illogical conclusions:
In what must be considered among the most egregious acts of discrimination against Israel by leftist intellectuals, author Alice Walker is not allowing her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple to be translated into Hebrew because of her opposition to the Jewish state. The book, which was made into a popular 1985 movie directed by Steven Spielberg, is a story about racism and misogyny in the American south.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that in a letter posted on a site supporting the boycott of Israel, Walker said she was refusing to allow the translation in order to boost support for the movement to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) the Jewish state because of its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians. But in saying she doesn’t even wish her work to appear in Hebrew, Walker is making a broader statement than a mere critique of Israeli policies. This sort of a boycott is an attempt to treat Jews and Hebrew, which is the national language of the Jewish people, as beyond the pale. In doing so, Walker has illustrated how hatred for Israel can erase the line between political opinion and outright anti-Semitism.
In fact, Alice Walker's act of moralizing censorship results in promoting and legitimizing the same type of racial discrimination that her book spoke against. Can she not see the illogic of her convictions? Would it not be preferable that she write a new foreword in Hebrew addressing her concerns? Would it not be preferable that she find sympathetic Hebrew readers? Perhaps not. In Walker's calculation, discrimination is acceptable, as long as it is against Israel and the Hebrew language. Her position is not only wrong but morally indefensible and against the ideas of liberal democracy.

You can read the rest of the article at [Commentary]