Bravo to the University of Michigan for disinviting Alice Walker – and shame on Walker for reportedly spreading false rumors about Michigan’s reasons for doing so. The University of Michigan recently withdrew a speaking invitation to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, who is now known not only for her literary work but also for her virulent anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. Walker says that the university was pressured to do so, but the university denies it.
Walker and her agent are spreading an apparently false rumor, which some news outlets continue to disseminate, to the effect that Michigan had disinvited her because of pressure from rich donors. Calling this a “censorship by purse strings,” Walker and her agent insinuate that her disinvitation was brought on by supposedly inappropriate influence by wealthy Jews. This charge seems to have traction with some media and internet sources, because it resonates with long-held beliefs about Jewish wealth, influence, and control of major instituitons.