It Is Our (Frightful) Duty

To Study The Talmud

©2017 by Alice Walker

The first time I was accused

Of appearing to be anti-Semitic

It was a shock

That did not wear off

For days.

The man who charged me

Was a friend.

A Jewish Soul

Who I thought understood

Or could learn to understand

Almost anything.

He could not understand


Why I thought Israel should give back

The land it took

From a poorly defended

People in a war that lasted

Exactly six days.  I cringed

About our small house

In Mississippi (where black people

Often assumed he was a racist)

Deeply offended by his attempt

To insult my character

And spoke to him

Earnestly of “dignity” “justice”

 “honor” and “peace.”

Sometimes, later in life,

You do laugh at yourself.

You understand, finally,

That you’ve understood

Nothing.  Nothing at all.

That in this case, for instance,

 That of the famed Six Day War,

 It was all a show,

A true “Theatre” war;

The battlefield a stage,

Though bombs and bullets were real.

Only the people who lost the battle

Got a close-up

Of the set.

And the set-up.

Later I would march

Or be arrested

Protesting this war and that

And marvel how it never mattered.

On days we marched in our tens of thousands

The people we hoped to influence

Were taking a holiday. Bush was

 good at this.  He let the media

Spread the word he was chillin’ on his

12,000 or is it 20,000

Acre ranch.

Bill and Barack made themselves


When I was in Palestine

As an elder

Doing my job

Of keeping tabs

On Earth’s children

I remembered my concern

And how my friend

Had brushed it off.

“Israel needs that land to protect itself.”

He said.  As though this should be

Self- evident.  It wasn’t then;

It isn’t now.

The land taken

Has never been returned.

In fact, more stolen land

Has followed the first assaults

And thefts.

Palestinian children, after years

Of throwing stones

 At grown up assassins

In helmets and armored tanks

Are killing themselves

These days

To save their murderers

The trouble.

Unlike most Americans

I have witnessed Palestine

Under Israeli rule.  It is demonic

To the core.  But where to look

For the inspiration

 For so much evil? Where

To find the teachings that influence

And sanction such limitless cruel behavior?

Where to find that part

 Of the puzzle that is missing?

We’ve intuited there must be one.

And we were right.


We must go back

As grown ups, now,

Not as the gullible children we once were,

And study our programming,

From the beginning.

All of it:  The Christian, the Jewish,

The Muslim; even the Buddhist.  All of it, without exception,

At the root.

For the study of Israel, of Gaza, of Palestine,

Of the bombed out cities of the Middle East,

Of the creeping Palestination

Of our police, streets, and prisons

In America,

Of war in general,

It is our duty, I believe, to study The Talmud.

It is within this book that,

I believe, we will find answers

To some of the questions

That most perplex us.

Where to start?

 You will find some information,

Slanted, unfortunately,

By Googling.  For a more in depth study

I recommend starting with YouTube.  Simply follow the trail of “The

Talmud” as its poison belatedly winds its way

Into our collective consciousness.

Some of what you find will sound

Too crazy to be true.  Unfortunately those bits are likely

To be true.  Some of the more evasive studies

 Will exhibit unbelievable attempts

At sugar coating extremely disagreeable pills.

 But hang in there, checking

And double checking, listening to everybody,

Even the teachers with the twisted pasts

That scare you the most,

 And the taped rants of outraged citizens that sound

Like madcap characters on Car Talk

Except they are not laughing

But are righteously outraged.

Study hard, with an open

If deeply offended mind,

 Until you can sift the false

From the true.

Is Jesus boiling eternally in hot excrement,

For his “crime” of throwing the bankers

Out of the Temple?  For loving, standing with,

And defending

The poor?  Was his mother, Mary,

A whore?

Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only

That, but to enjoy it?

Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?

Are young boys fair game for rape?

Must even the best of the Goyim (us, again) be killed?

Pause a moment and think what this could mean

Or already has meant

In our own lifetime.

You may find that as the cattle

We have begun to feel we are

We have an ancient history of oppression

Of which most of us have not been even vaguely

Aware.  You will find that we, Goyim, sub-humans, animals

-The Palestinians of Gaza

The most obvious representatives of us

At the present time – are a cruel example of what may be done

With impunity, and without conscience,

By a Chosen people,

To the vast majority of the people

On the planet

Who were not Chosen.

Not chosen to receive the same dubious

“Blessing” of

Supremacy over the Earth,

Humans, and Beasts of this realm. As is

Stated plainly in the first chapter

Of the Bible we all read.

The Unchosen who, until now,

Were too scared of being

Called names

To demand to know why.

It is a “Blessing” Jesus did not want.

One that, risking crucifixion, he refused.

One of the reasons he is loved

By those who recognize a good

And righteous person

When they encounter one.

 Seen in this light he wasn’t even

A spiritual progressive, but a committed

Revolutionary:  a Che Guevara

Of the ancient past.

A past as scary, if not scarier, than

Our own time: A past that,

Unfortunately, is not even past (quoting


We discover this

To our enlightened grief

As we study

The Talmud,

Our own ignorance,

And the devastating impact of both

On our abandoned world.


See: The General’s Son: The Journey of An Israeli Into Palestine, by Miko Peled,

introduction by Alice Walker

Also interview with Miko Peled below.


Interview on BFM radio during my visit to Malaysia

 Also:  A Netflix Original Documentary:  One of Us, about  three people who leave the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, New York.  I like very much “entertainment” that focuses on freeing people and making them happier!  More please.