Last weekend’s edition of the New Times Book Review featured an interview with the author and Israel-hater Alice Walker, in which she was asked what books are currently on her nightstand. Among the four she named was And the Truth Shall Set You Free by David Icke, a longstanding peddler of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories; the book itself draws liberally on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, complains that Holocaust denial isn’t taught in schools, blames Jews for the Holocaust, and accuses the Anti-Defamation League of supporting far-right groups with the help of the Mossad and the Rothschilds. In Walker’s words, recorded by the Times without comment, the book is a “curious person’s dream come true.” Yair Rosenberg observes:
As can be seen from . . . its chapter titles (“Master Races,” “The Hidden Hand”), anti-Semitism is not incidental to Icke’s book; it is essential. It is impossible to miss. . . . That a celebrated cultural figure like Walker would promote such a self-evidently unhinged bigot might seem surprising [to those unfamiliar with her previous pronouncements]. But this is only because the cultural establishment has spent years studiously looking away from Walker’s praise of Icke and his work, and her [own] repeated expressions of anti-Semitism. . . .
Normally, . . . I’d say that it was good that the Times published Walker’s recommendation of Icke because it lets us know who she is. But we have known who she is for many years. It is rather the Times and other cultural elites who have opted to ignore this inconvenient fact. Thus, the only thing that is accomplished by uncritically disseminating Walker’s bigoted [recommendation] is ensuring that the racism is disseminated to more people.
Why has Walker escaped accountability for so long? Perhaps it is due to her Israel politics, which have been used to confuse the issue. Walker is a prominent supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, famously forbidding [her novel] The Color Purple from being translated into Hebrew. Because Walker—like Icke—is a strident critic of Israel, her defenders—like Icke’s—have dismissed allegations of anti-Semitism by claiming they are merely an attempt to quash her criticism of the Jewish state.