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Berlin Photo: AFP
Berlin Photo: AFP
 
 

German Jews oppose award for US philosopher

Central Council of Jews says 'self-confessed Israel hater' Judith Butler should not be awarded Adorno humanities prize

AFP
Published: 08.29.12, 14:05 / Israel Jewish Scene

Germany's main Jewish representative group said Monday it opposed the awarding of a prestigious prize to US philosopher Judith Butler due to her calls for a boycott against Israel.

 

The secretary general of the Central Council of Jews, Stephan J. Kramer, accused Butler, a Jewish professor at the University of California at Berkeley, of "moral depravity" and urged the prize committee to reverse its decision.

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Butler, 56, is to accept the humanities award, named for the late German sociologist and philosopher Theodor Adorno, on September 11 at St. Paul's Church in the western city of Frankfurt.

 

It includes a 50,000-euro ($62,600) cash prize.

 

"To reward a self-confessed Israel hater with a prize named for the great philosopher who was forced into emigration as a 'half Jew' cannot simply be considered a mistake," Kramer said in remarks in Berlin reported by German news agency DPA and later confirmed by the Central Council.

 

"Only a board of trustees lacking the necessary moral fortitude for its duties could separate Butler's contribution to philosophy from her moral depravity."

 

Kramer also attacked Butler's description of Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate social movements.

 

She has said that her remarks on the groups had been "horribly" misunderstood and that she rejects all forms of violence.

 

Butler is best known for her work in feminist philosophy, literary theory and gender studies and is an outspoken supporter of a boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel "over its occupation of the Palestinian territories."

 

She has frequently drawn a sharp distinction between criticism of Zionism and anti-Semitism in defending her public comments.

 

The Adorno prize board, which presents the award every three years, called Butler "one of the most significant thinkers of our time".

 

 

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