Prominent British Scholar Rejects Israeli Prize
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A prominent British academic said Thursday she had turned down a prestigious Israeli award, in what looked to be the latest attempt by Western activists to boycott the regime.
Catherine Hall, a history professor at University College London, said her rejection of $300,000 in prize money from The Dan David Foundation was “an independent political choice.”
She declined to elaborate, but her stance appeared to be inspired by the international BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
In a statement to the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, a pro-BDS group, Hall announced that she has withdrawn from the prize “after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine, but with differing views as to how best to act.”
She did not return messages seeking additional comment, the Associated Press reported.
The Dan David Foundation awards three $1 million prizes annually. Hall, whose research has focused on rethinking the relation between Britain and its empire in the 19th and 20th centuries, shared one of the awards with two others.
The prize is named after the late philanthropist Dan David and administered by Tel Aviv University. Previous recipients include former US Vice President Al Gore, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen.
BDS movement uses nonviolent means to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. US and UK academic unions have endorsed boycotts, student governments at universities have made divestment proposals, and a number of churches have sold off shares in businesses seen as profiting from the occupation of the West Bank. The movement also claims responsibility for pressuring some large companies to stop or modify operations in Israel.
BDS pushes, among other things, for a return of Palestinian refugees to family properties lost in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.