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The 2009 Schwarzschild Award


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It’s time for the Monitor’s sixth annual Henry Schwarzschild Award, bestowed on a Jewish person in the public spotlight who, by his or her statements, displays contempt for the Jewish people, disregard for historical truth, a desire to sup at the table of Israel’s enemies, or who otherwise plays into the hands of the enemies of Jews and Israel.

Back in September the Monitor asked for reader input in helping decide this year’s recipient. The choice was nearly unanimous.

Before we get to this year’s honoree, a little something about the award.

Henry Schwarzschild, who died in 1996, was a longtime activist in groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Peace Fellowship. In the wake of the Israeli siege of Beirut in the summer of 1982, he wrote a public letter of resignation from the editorial advisory board of the journal Sh’ma – a letter that will stand in perpetuity as a monument to the monstrous neuroses and insecurities that afflict secular leftist Jews.

Schwarzschild’s main points:

[T]he War on Lebanon has now made clear to me that the resumption of political power by the Jewish people after two thousand years of diaspora has been a tragedy of historical dimensions. I will not avoid an unambiguous response to the Israeli army’s turning West Beirut into another Warsaw Ghetto. I now conclude and avow that the price of a Jewish state is, to me, Jewishly unacceptable and that the existence of this (or any similar) Jewish ethnic religious nation state is a Jewish, i.e. a human and moral, disaster and violates every remaining value for which Judaism and Jews might exist in history.The lethal military triumphalism and corrosive racism that inheres in the State and in its supporters (both there and here) are profoundly abhorrent to me. So is the message that now goes forth to the nations of the world that the Jewish people claim the right to impose a holocaust on others in order to preserve the State. I now renounce the State of Israel, disavow any political connection or emotional obligation to it, and declare myself its enemy.

Schwarzschild’s screed was immediately published by the far-left Nation magazine. Playwright Tony Kushner and journalist Alisa Solomon thought so much of it they included it in their 2003 book Wrestling with Zion, a compilation of essays by leftists struggling with their feelings of ambivalence toward Israel.

The winner of the Monitor’s first Schwarzschild Award was Uri Avnery, the granddaddy of Israel’s hard-core Left who eulogized Palestinian terror chief Yasir Arafat as a prophet of peace. The second award went to Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, who in a speech at the ADL’s national conference tore into the Christian Right – Israel’s most faithful support group in the U.S.

The third annual Schwarzschild Award went to Michael Lerner, publisher of the far-left Tikkun magazine, who took offense at the widespread negative reaction among supporters of Israel to Jimmy Carter’s atrocious book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The fourth winner was then-Haaretz editor David Landau, who told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel needed to be “raped” by the United States, Actor Ed Asner won last year’s award. A hard-core leftist, Asner took up the cause of Israelis who refuse to serve in the IDF.

This year’s winner is Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, the final report of which instantly entered the popular lexicon as, simply, the Goldstone report. Rather than being guilty of making one specific harmful or counterproductive statement, Goldstone signed off on an alleged investigation the New York Daily News described as “libelously conclud[ing] that Israel targeted ‘Gaza as a whole’ as part of ‘an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and apparent support of Hamas.’ ”

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, wrote that the Goldstone report “goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves. If a country can be pummeled by thousands of rockets and still not be justified in protecting its inhabitants, then at issue is not the methods by which that country survives but whether it can survive at all.

“But more insidiously, the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents – as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed.”

This is the kind of report Goldstone proudly oversaw and to which he affixed his name. Henry Schwarzschild would have heartily approved.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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