On Peace and Prizes

The visits of Presidents Bush and Hu may be big news elsewhere but, interestingly, the brouhaha du jour in Sydney appears to be the Sydney Peace Foundation’s award of it’s annual Peace Prize to Dr Hanan Ashrawi – noted christian Palestinian academic and politician.

As I write, Sydney talkback is running hot with pro and con callers and the SMH online poll has racked up an astonishing 10,300 votes – currently 45% ‘for’ Ashrawi, 50% against and the rest undecided. Were I a world-weary cynic, I’d be detecting some stack voting here, but fortunately, I’m not.

Sydney Lord Mayor, Lucy Turnbull, has announced a Council boycott of the award on the basis that Dr Ashrawi “has not demonstrated sufficient commitment to the peace process.” This wasn’t obviously a concern for her back on the 26th of September when the City Council publicly supported the SPF’s right to make the award to whomsoever they chose. SPF Chair, Professor Stuart Rees, suggests that the Lord Mayor’s opposition may not be unrelated to her husband’s aspirations for the federal seat of Wentworth – which encompasses a sizeable Jewish constituency. The Lord Mayor , not unsurprisingly, dismisses such speculation. I digress slightly but, shouldn’t a guy who presides over matters peaceful, seek to avoid a headlong plunge into such an obvious casus belli?

The Premier, hardly an opponent of Israel himself, has stoutly rejected calls to withdraw from his role of Award presenter at the ceremony on 6 November and Dr Ashrawi, in an interview with ABC Radio 702 last night, eloquently refuted claims that she is opposed to a two state solution – not to mention being “a supporter of terrorism.” I certainly gained new respect for her and for her cause, after listening.

She must however be aware – more than most – that hers would be a controversial nomination: if only because there is no “peace” per se and the failure to produce it is hotly contested in terms of responsibility. In that sense the decision to make the award – and the motivation for doing so – was inevitably going to be subject to the same intensely partisan contestation process.

I guess my conclusion is somewhat mixed. I doubt the wisdom of the award on the one hand but I don’t doubt the essentiality – nor the rarity – of people like Hanan Ashrawi in ultimately delivering the conditions that would make the Award universally acclaimed. In the meantime, the die is pretty much cast and Ashrawi’s address (due to be delivered on the night prior to the Award) should be well worth hearing.

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Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Geoff, good post. The Sydney Jewish community is doing its cause a grave disservice with its line that all Palestinians are terrorists or apologists therefore. Ashwari is not Arafat and people who suggest that she is simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

I look forward to the Sydney Peace Prize being awarded in the future to a moderate Israeli, admittedly an endangered species right now, but they might rise again.

Graham
2022 years ago

Aye. Crikey’s got a speech of Carr defending the selection in Parliament.

http://www.crikey.com.au/politics/2003/10/17-0002.html

(Just counting the number of Greens getting thrown out of Bush’s address. Two so far…)

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Thanks Dave.

Graham – I couldn’t help but think that Kerry Nettle’s exit was scheduled into the Presidential address to give him the best one-liner of the day – “I love free speech.”

Excellent speech from Crean, BTW.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

I find it ironic that people who are criticising the lady do not realise or ignore that the State of Israel was built on terrorism and ethnic cleansing.
I don’t recall anyone saying Begin who got the Nobel peace prize shouldn’t have got it because he was a murderous terrorist who never apologised for his actions.

I also find it interesting that no-one can provide evidence of all these things that the Prof has allegedly done such as the alleged 96 vote.
Indeed on 2BL or whatever it is called now whenever anyone is called on to substantiate this allegation as M/s Turnbull was they immediately start blubbering.
the Prof has refuted all these allegations and until anyone shows me evidence I will believe her.

How is it that the ‘Jewish’ lobby’ can say with a straight face that Sharon is a man of peace yet cannot bring themselves to believe any Palestinian wants peace.

I must say that the Palestinian and Jewish lobbies leave me breathless with their double standards.

Murph
2022 years ago

That’s right Homer. The Palis want peace. Maybe you should take a look at recent poll results which indicate that three quarters of Palis approved of the suicide bombing in the Haifa cafe and 60% want the intifada to continue even after the creation of a Palestinian state. They don’t want peace Homer, they want victory and the destruction of Israel. Ashrawi herself is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Murph
2022 years ago

That’s right Homer. The Palis want peace. Maybe you should take a look at recent poll results which indicate that three quarters of Palis approved of the suicide bombing in the Haifa cafe and 60% want the intifada to continue even after the creation of a Palestinian state. They don’t want peace Homer, they want victory and the destruction of Israel. Ashrawi herself is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“That’s right Homer. The Palis want peace.”

But he’s not saying that Murph. His comment – and my post – were both specific to Hanan Ashrawi. If you believe that you can prove your assertion that she is “committed to the destruction of Israel,” punt it up.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Murph must believe it, Geoff. He said it twice.

As for Lucy Turnbull, how could any sane person not believe she acted to help her husband’s pre-selection?

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Actually, having given it more thought, I believe Lord Mayor Turnbull wasn’t thinking about the seat of Wentworth. She was probably thinking about her own forthcoming election.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

We should abstain from giving out mickey mouse peace awards/prizes to Palestinians or Israelis until they live together peacefully for at least 10years.

Softly
Softly
2022 years ago

No-one else has punted up proof Hanan Ashrawi is “committed to the destruction of Israel” yet so here goes.

http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0596/9605040.htm
PNC Vote Affirms Arafat Leadership Of Diaspora Palestinians May/June 1996

“The resolution specified that the committee was to change provisions in the charter calling for the destruction of Israel or denying Israel’s right to exist.”
“Among those who voted against the resolution was Hanan Ashrawi, considered a moderate’s moderate by most Americans. Maintaining the distance from Arafat she established at the time the first Oslo accord was negotiated behind the backs of the Palestinian delegation to the Washington peace talks of which she was a member, she said that the resolution ‘will appear to be a succumbing to Israeli dictate.'”

http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9604/25/palestinian.charter/
Palestinians drop vow to destroy Israel

Not all back change
“Many see the charter vote as caving in to Israeli pressure.
‘This will be an added factor, where people will feel an added loss of heart and loss of faith and loss of hope, and these things are dangerous,’ said Hanan Ashrawi, longtime PLO spokesperson and a Council member.”

Softly
Softly
2022 years ago

No-one else has punted up proof Hanan Ashrawi is “committed to the destruction of Israel” yet so here goes.

http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0596/9605040.htm
PNC Vote Affirms Arafat Leadership Of Diaspora Palestinians May/June 1996

“The resolution specified that the committee was to change provisions in the charter calling for the destruction of Israel or denying Israel’s right to exist.”
“Among those who voted against the resolution was Hanan Ashrawi, considered a moderate’s moderate by most Americans. Maintaining the distance from Arafat she established at the time the first Oslo accord was negotiated behind the backs of the Palestinian delegation to the Washington peace talks of which she was a member, she said that the resolution ‘will appear to be a succumbing to Israeli dictate.'”

http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9604/25/palestinian.charter/
Palestinians drop vow to destroy Israel

Not all back change
“Many see the charter vote as caving in to Israeli pressure.
‘This will be an added factor, where people will feel an added loss of heart and loss of faith and loss of hope, and these things are dangerous,’ said Hanan Ashrawi, longtime PLO spokesperson and a Council member.”

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

Dr Ashrawi said that far from rejecting peace, she had served as a negotiator in the run-up to the Madrid and Oslo agreements, which led to the Palestinians accepting the two-state solution and Israel’s right to exist.

She said she still supported the road map as published, although she deplored efforts to alter it and the failure to implement it.