Talk about perverse: The authors’ wing of the boycott-Israel movement has its panties in a knot over the Israeli Embassy’s support for this month’s PEN World Voices Festival here in the city.
PEN is an association of literary types; the protesters include Pulitzer-winning novelists Alice Walker, Richard Ford and Junot Díaz. But what’s truly bizarre is their gripe.
Walker complains that PEN is failing to stand up for “Palestinian writers, academics, and students who are suffering under a repressive Israeli regime that denies their right to freedom of expression.”
In fact, the only place in the Middle East where Palestinians enjoy the right of free expression is . . . Israel. No one has anything like free-speech rights in the Palestinian territories — not under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, nor under Hamas in Gaza.
As for local boy Díaz (Jersey-raised and a Rutgers grad), well, he also signed a protest last year when PEN International gave its Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo — after the horrific terrorist slaughter at the magazine’s Paris office.
That tells you all you need to know about his commitment to free speech.
And that’s the real bottom line of the entire Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement: It’s not remotely about rights — it’s all about bashing Israel.
Photo: A right-wing Israeli holds a flag and wears a Star of David patch in Jerusalem. credit: AP
Published first in “New York Post” read here