Alice Walker, author and anti-Israel activist, disinvited and then re-invited by University of Michigan

( The University of Michigan has rescinded an invitation to American author and anti-Israel activist Alice Walker to speak at an event at the school’s Center for the Education of Women. The center, however, later said that Walker would be re-invited to campus.

Author and anti-Israel activist Alice Walker, and playwright Eve Ensler, clasp hands at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on the night they appeared together in dialogue, May 30, 2013. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

On her blog, Walker claimed that her views on Israel were the reason she was disinvited. She posted a note from an agent explaining that the invitation was rescinded due to “the removal of funding from the donors” because of her views on Israel. But the University of Michigan offered a different explanation.

“Upon further research, I decided to withdraw our invitation because I did not think Ms. Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event,” Gloria D. Thomas, director of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan, wrote in a statement posted on the center’s website.

Thomas added that donors “had no bearing on this decision.”

But Martha E. Pollack, University of Michigan provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, later posted about Walker’s re-invitation on the CEW website.

Consistent with the university’s commitment to free speech, I am pleased to report that the CEW and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies are joining together to extend an invitation to Ms. Walker to speak in a public forum on campus,” Pollack wrote.

Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” is an open supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2009, she traveled to the Gaza Strip as part of the anti-war group Code Pink, and has also attempted to take part in a flotilla to Gaza. Her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road,” was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for dedicating 80 pages to “a screed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict replete with fervently anti-Jewish ideas and peppered with explicit comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.”

Posted on August 16, 2013 .