Israeli consul general in New York Ido Aharoni has responded to American novelist Alice Walker’s overt calls to boycott the Jewish state, noting that there is a “strange twist” is her efforts to undermine freedom and pluralism.
In an open letter to Walker published Wednesday in the New York Post, Aharoni defended the state of Israel in the face of such anti-Israel calls, which often border on blatant anti-Semitism.
“I am writing this letter to you with great pain, after encountering your name in the news, again, calling for a boycott on my home and country,” writes Aharoni.
Aharoni asks Walker, why, in her view, “the Jewish state has no right to promote itself, dress up for its tourists and appeal to millions, while entities like Iran and North Korea, not to mention Gaza under Hamas, avoid your harsh words and condemnations?”
“Why is it considered a ploy in our case, when it is a worthy and normal endeavor when everyone else does the same?”
“Here’s a strange twist: A well-known American author, who prides herself of the protection of freedom and pluralism, is trying to deprive millions of Israeli music fans of their right to enjoy music,” Aharoni writes in the New York Post.
“Let’s admit: You do not think Israel has the right to be presented positively. You displayed your own inability to relate to Israel other than through the prism of the conflict with its neighbors.”
Reflecting on the Syrian crisis, the Israeli consul general notes the glaring double standars.
“Have you done anything about Syria? Ninety thousand dead, 1.5 million refugees. Full-blown civil war,” he writes.
“Israel is a vibrant nation, with hard-working people who make the world a better place on a daily basis. Our legendary foreign minister, the late Golda Meir, was one of the first leaders to reach out to the ‘newly decolonized’ nations of Africa immediately after their independence, to join hands in sharing our respective experiences as young nations.
“Meir’s work and legacy still thrive all over the developing world, spreading the light that is Israel, and for the benefit of making people’s lives better,” he continued.
“We all know that there isa dire need in the world today for greater understanding and mutual respect between peoples and nations. Once we start excluding others unjustly and immorally, it can only serve to harm the greater good,” he writes.
“Let’s use our words carefully, to build bridges, not destroy them. To bring healing, not pain. Ms. Walker, Israel is a country of history and wonder, surprises and values.It is a source of light. Let it — and us all — shine,” Aharoni concludes.