The University of Michigan has disinvited author Alice Walker, a proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, from speaking at an upcoming event.
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Walker wrote in her blog that her invitation to talk at the Center for the Education of Women's 50th anniversary, due to take place in 2014, was retracted due to the removal of funding from donors who disapprove of the author's comments regarding Israel. She described the move as "censorship."
However, in an apology posted on its website, the center denied the claim, saying, "Donors had no bearing on this decision." Rather, Walker's invitation was withdrawn because the center's director did not think "Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event."
Walker made headlines in Israel in 2012 after refusing to authorize a Hebrew translation of her prize-winning book "The Color Purple", and participated in the 2011 Gaza Flotilla. In May of this year, she urged R&B star Alicia Keys to boycott Israel by canceling her concert here, and in June was lambasted by the Anti-Defamation League for expressing "fervently anti-Jewish ideas" in her new book, The Cushion in the Road, which devotes some 80 pages to essays on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In her letter of apology, the Center for the Education of Women's director, Gloria Thomas, said she hopes to co-sponsor a lecture by Walker in the future, "where the forum would be focused on a more substantial discussion of human rights issues."