Alice Walker Pens Open Letter to Alicia Keys

The writer and activist asks Keys to rethink concert in Israel.

Posted: 05/30/2013 12:45 PM EDT

Alice Walker used her pen (well, keyboard) to send a powerful message to Alicia Keys.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple wrote an open letter to the singer, asking her to reconsider an upcoming concert in Israel. Walker calls on Keys to join a boycott of the Israeli government and businesses to bring attention to the "apartheid" she and others believe is happening against the Palestinian people in the region. 

While Walker makes it clear she has no issue with the Israeli people, she tells Keys her refusal to promote Israeli business and government officials stems from the fact that they "consciously downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern and welcoming place."

Instead, the celebrated novelist encourages her "younger sister, beloved daughter and friend" to visit the children of Gaza, who have suffered economic sanctions and multiple wars over the past few decades. Walker likens the suffering of the Palestinians to pre-civil rights era Blacks and South Africans.

Read the full letter on the website for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Keys is scheduled to perform in Israel in July.

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(Photos from left: Peter Kramer/Getty Images, Cliff Watts, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for PCA)

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