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November 10, 2010

Why Nobel Peace Prize Laureates support Israel's war crimes?

On Nov. 2, 38 Nobel Laureates signed a statement denouncing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli academic institutions, academics, research centers and training facilities.

To them, the academic BDS against Israel is:

• antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom,

• antithetical to principles of freedom of expression and inquiry, and

• may well constitute discrimination by virtue of national origin.

Firstly, I find that the mere attempt to use the “Nobel Laureate” card is a clear indication that the Zionist movement has become so intellectually corrupt that it needs to use meaningless labels to strengthen its position.

Being a Nobel Laureate is often (sometimes falsely, of course) associated with international credibility, especially when it comes to international politics.

The best example of this is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a vehement defender of Palestinian human rights and a former leader of the anti-Apartheid movement in Africa.

Let me be clear on one very important thing: Tutu is credible not because he is a Nobel Laureate, but because of his legacy as a charismatic and principled leader of the anti-Apartheid movement and a strong advocate of peace and justice.

Secondly, the declaration reveals the hypocrisy of these Nobel Laureates.

They criticize the BDS movement for being antithetical to principles of academic and scientific freedom, yet they fail to mention that the occupation of Palestine, the Apartheid Wall and the siege of Gaza are no less “antithetical.” The numerous checkpoints and roadblocks make it virtually impossible for a Palestinian student to reach a school or university, and many are forced to postpone their degrees because of restrictions imposed upon them.

The Laureates also mention that BDS may well constitute “discrimination by virtue of national origin” yet make no mention of Israel’s new loyalty oath or Israel’s Law of Return, both of which discriminate against non-Jews.

Neither did they mention how Palestinian Israelis are discriminated against (based on national origin) in the political, educational, social and economic sectors.

It is important to note that none of the Laureates has any record of fighting for peace and justice.

In fact, when I was going through the list, two names caught my attention. Elie Wiesel is known for his strong support for Israel, a lack of compassion for Palestinians, disregard for the Armenian genocide, disdain for Judge Richard Goldstone, and shameless denial of any non-Jew’s right to Jerusalem. It is not surprising that Wiesel, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1986, signed this sham of a declaration.

The second name that caught my attention is Robert Aumann, a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in Hebrew University. He is also a member of Professors for a Strong Israel (http://www.professors.org.il/) and a member of Ahi, a right-wing Israeli nationalist party that opposes dismantling West Bank settlements and advocates for a greater Israel. He was an adamant opponent of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza.

Clearly, the signers of this declaration have no interest in peace (as they proclaim) and are not interested in justice for Palestine.

In fact, this is a recurring phenomenon. A war criminal, like Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion was awarded the Peace Prize even though he is well known as the architect of the King David Hotel terrorist attack.

Other undeserving Peace Prize Laureates include Yitzhak Rabin (who increased West Bank settlements the while negotiating a so-called peace settlement with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat) and Shimon Peres, the current President of Israel.

Wiesel and his supporters do not find it problematic for universities to engage in research that legitimizes the actions of a criminal state.

They do not think that it is incumbent on all academics to punish institutions that enable and legitimize the occupation of Palestine.

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