An Open Letter to Alicia Keys from Alice Walker

This is powerful letter from writer Alice Walker to singer Alicia Keys asking her to boycott Israel..Over the past few years several prominent artists including Stevie Wonder and the late Gil Scott-Heron had to be asked to reconsider their position in playing for Israel and entities representing it.. Both complied and joined the thousands of artists globally who have already agreed..We’ll see if Keys joins the Movement.


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.

If you go to my website and blog you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.

With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,

Alice Walker




  1. Wow! Shocked, or maybe disappointed really, that Alicia is even going there since I kinda let myself be lulled into thinking that she is a conscious artist, and damn if boycotting Israel sure ain’t news. Maybe since she hit the mainstream and let Clive Davis folks “style” her and ditch her cultural vibe and boho locks in favor of Hollywood over-processed Euro hair, maybe that fried some of her brain cells too. But Alice Walker’s letter is beautiful: she makes her point with such power, grace and dignity, and love. Much respect.

  2. thats deep hummm

  3. Things that make you go hmmmmm! Most of these artist do not take the time to concern themselves with these social injustices that go on in other countries. They are mainly concerned about those checks

  4. joshua goldenrod says:

    Alice Walker doesn’t have a relationship with her only daughter. Talk about understanding compassion.

  5. Although I agree with madam Alice Walker and her attempt to shed to Alicia Keys of the apartheid conditions in Israel towards the Palestinians however I am saddened that this Open Letter which is being read by millions is lacking pertinent info of the Afrikan Sudanese and Afrikan Eritrieans refugees that are currently rounded up and interned to prison camps in the southeren desert of Israel to forcefully segregate them to maintain the so called pure jew blood lines in Israel. These calcuulated measures that are carried out by the Israels government and is rallied for by the Israeli citizens. They are denied civilty in Israel merely because they’re Black/Afrikans. Madam Alice Walker forgot this info in her open letter to Alicia Keys.
    I hope Alicia Keys listen nonetheless.

  6. Didn’t know about the issues related to Israel

  7. Stevie Wonder recently cancelled his plans to play for a pro-apartheid israel gig in Los Angeles, a fundraiser for Israel’s occupying army. Roger Waters of PINK FLOYD urged him to cancel in a letter, WATERS has also written to Alicia Keys, just google PACBI – waters- alicia for that letter.

  8. I think this perspective is really quite out of step with reality. Clearly there is a failure to understand the longer history of the region. So sad to see people duped by propaganda.

  9. Israel practices Apartheid. It should be boycotted just like South Africa was.

  10. alexhorovitz says:

    Just so we’re clear on the definition. Because words do matter.

    Pronunciation: ə-ˈpär-ˌtāt, -ˌtīt
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Afrikaans, from apart apart + -heid -hood
    Date: 1947
    1 : racial segregation ; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa

    So Israel may be guilty of many things, but Apartheid is not one of them.

  11. REALITY CHECK says:

    So Alice Walker and Roger Waters support BIGOTRY, HATE and DISCRIMINATION against the people of Israel, and against random everyday music fans of Israel, because they don’t like the way the government protects itself from the crazy lunatic jihad terrorist groups that surround Israel and rant crazed garbage every day about how much they want to destroy the place.

    That’s really disgusting of Alice Walker and Roger Waters.

    And to use the word “apartheid” in Israel’s direction just shows PATHETIC IGNORANCE. Israel has ONE MILLION Arab citizens and they are educated, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, etc. making a full living and living a free life. Know who is NOT making any money or living a free life? Arabs in the ACTUAL ARAB COUNTRIES near Israel. In Syria, Arabs are DYING right now, while in Israel Arabs are watching cable TV and chillin at cafes or whatever. In Egypt half the people can’t even read. In Yemen, Arabs are literally starving. In Israel, there are Arab JUDGES, Arab government members, etc.

    Israel is one of the countries FURTHEST from apartheid anywhere in that section of the planet! There are THOUSANDS of black citizens of Israel that are doing FINE. The issue Israel was having was with illegal immigrants from African countries trying to sneak into Israel, NOT with actual black citizens of Israel.

    Israel has a million Muslim citizens. Know how many Jewish citizens Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. have? CLOSE TO ZERO, because those countries destroyed their Jewish populations.

    So Israel, the MOST LIBERAL AND DIVERSE country in that region, the only one with a MASSIVE minority populations, and one whose minorities are the most free, educated and successful minorities in that entire region of the planet, is the one country with the dishonest hate hurled at it the most. GO FIGURE.

    If Roger Waters and Alice Walker actually cared about peace, they’d go tell Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. to stop trying to blow Israel up and agree to peace with Israel. But instead, they promote RACISM and BIGOTRY against Israeli MUSIC FANS! As if that’s going to bring peace! They are HATEMONGERS.

  12. REALITY CHECK says:

    One last thing from me: The idea that performing a concert in Tel Aviv is controversial is a damn JOKE. Any fools even been to Tel Aviv? It’s the closest thing to NEW YORK CITY in that entire region of the earth. There are white Jews, dark-skinned Jews, Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, black people from about 50 different places, and a zillion other people, all working together, hanging out, drinking a damn cappuccino, partying, etc.

    And scumbags want to promote BIGOTRY and DISCRIMINATION against Israelis? That’s going to bring peace?

    HAMAS, ISLAMIC JIHAD, etc. are the damn problem.

    How come China occupies Tibet, yet it’s OK to go perform concerts in China?

    How come Muslim countries discriminate against non-Muslims, but it’s OK to perform there?

    How come Syria has killed 80,000 Arabs in the past 1.5 years yet none of these fools who pretend to care about “justice” are even talking about it? (ANSWER: BECAUSE THEY CAN’T BLAME JEWS, SO SUDDENLY THEIR BITCH ASSES ARE QUIET ABOUT IT).

    How come Palestinians can support brutal Arab dictators that openly discriminate against black people, yet some black people still want to stick up for them in their quest to try to harm Israel?

    Jews and Arabs do live separately in the West Bank, but that’s so JEWS DON’T DIE. Jews got killed out of Egypt, killed out of Jordan, killed out of Lebanon, killed out of Syria, so in the West Bank they live separately so they don’t DIE. Thta’s not “APARTHEID,” that’s called SURVIVAL. And in main Israel, they all live together, and live 50 better than poor starving Arabs in actual Arab countries right now.

    Again, man, some DUMB PEOPLE have loud voices to preach DUMB SHIT to people DUMB enough to listen.

    You go to Tel Aviv, you’ll feel like you’re in a nicer NYC, except with a beach!

    You go to Syria, you’ll get blown the hell up by insane terrorists or the insane government.

  13. Sorry Apartheid is Apartheid. Even when the State of Israel does it.

  14. REALITY CHECK says:

    Except, Israel doesn’t do it. Which is why the MILLION Israeli Arabs are judges, doctors, lawyers, scientists, computer programmers, educated, free, and ALIVE, unlike the minority populations of Arab countries.

  15. If a bunch of racists religious extremists in Texas decided to forcefully remove a majority of non-whites and non-Christians from their homes, cities and farmlands in order to start a “Christian State”, what would we call that? Or, if they were Jews who wanted to start a “Jewish State” by forcing everybody else out Florida, what would we call that?

    Oh yeah, that’s right, we’d call that apartheid motivated by racism and religious extremism.

    Regardless, and though many Israelis along with delusional, angry apologist like “REALITY CHECK” prefer to tell themselves that the state equally respects all religious and ethnic affiliations, there’s no getting around the fact that the Jewish State of Israel is NOT a “secular country” so long as it’s run by religious EXTREMISTS and RACIST ZIONISTS. They even call themselves a ‘Jewish State’.

    No matter how these apologists and closet racists skirt the issue, the fact remains that an official “Jewish state” relies on making a distinction based upon ethnicity and/or religion. The irony of it all is that most Israelis aren’t even Semitic, they’re descendant from people who come from the Khazars.

    P.S. Mark, there’s no need to apologize for pointing out the fact that Israel effectively operates as an apartheid state. It’s simply a fact worth sharing.

  16. This kind of debate is so un-useful. It doesn’t actually promote the type of attitudes and actions that are most likely to help the Palestinians. I wonder how one comes to imagine that Israelis and Palestinians are so different. I also wonder why people imagine the citizens of Israel to be so homogenous.

    People are so quick to ignore the actual history of the region ( hint: Historical Palestine includes ALL of what we today call Jordan ).

    What do people hope to accomplish by name calling? The South African system of apartheid is in no way comparable to the system of government in Israel. That’s just something people say to get other people who don’t think critically whipped into a frenzy.

    Change in Israel is happening. Change for the Palestinians is being held up by the Arab world which cannot accept Jews ( or Christians ) as “occupiers” in “their” land. The sad truth is that many American Jews ( and Christians ) fail to do the one thing that will actually help the Palestinians ( an therefore Israel ). If only they would invest in education and business opportunities for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. If only the American critics of Israel would do likewise.

    Creating the opportunity for happiness and an end to suffering is far more powerful than creating additional hatred, distrust, and more misgivings.

  17. now that’s deep…#repost

  18. DIdnt alice walker sell her soul to speilberg? Sit down.

  19. very interesting but like CJ said didnt she sell her soul


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