Lifestyle & Belief

Alice Walker to Alicia Keys: Cancel Tel Aviv concert


Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker arrives at the induction ceremony for the California Hall of Fame December 6, 2006 in Sacramento, California.


Justin Sullivan

In an open letter to Alicia Keys, writer Alice Walker asked the singer to boycott her upcoming summer concert in Tel Aviv on account of Israel’s "apartheid" against the Palestinians.

Walker asked the Grammy Award-winning singer to instead perform in Gaza. Keys is set to make her first visit to Israel in July and will perform on July 4 as a part of her European tour.

Walker said "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."

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Walker, who has a long history of boycotting Israel likened the current situation in the Middle East to slavery in the United States and apartheid in South Africa:

"You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid... Google Montgomery Bus Boycott... We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there."

The author and activist also encouraged Keys to "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."

Keys has not publicly responded to the letter.