Beginning in 2005 the Monitor has awarded annual recognition to a Jewish individual 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.
As can be imagined, such a decision is hardly an easy one, what with the seemingly inexhaustible supply of Jews given to fatuous and foolish pronunciamentos. We call our little honor the Henry Schwarzschild Award, named after the late civil liberties activist (he did in 1996) who, in the wake of the Israeli siege of Beirut in the summer of 1982, wrote a letter to the journal Sh’ma in which he renounced Israel, declared himself its enemy, and termed the creation of the Jewish state “a tragedy of historical dimensions.”
In the past the Monitor chose each year’s honoree with no input from readers. This year we’re inviting readers to send in their nominees, along with the offending quote(s) made by those nominees during calendar year 2008. The winner of the Schwarzschild Award is announced in January or February, so readers have until the end of the year to submit their suggestions.
The winner of the Monitor’s first Schwarzschild Award (for the year 2004) was Uri Avnery, the granddad of Israel’s hard-core Left. In an interview with Haaretz shortly after the death of Yasir Arafat, Avnery waxed lyrical about the wonderful qualities he’d found in the terror chief who championed and orchestrated the killing of countless men, women and children.
The second Schwarzschild Award went to ADL 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. outside the Jewish community (actually, some would argue, more faithful than the Jewish community itself) for what he described as its efforts “to ‘Christianize’ all aspects of American life, from the halls of government to the libraries, to the movies, to recording studios, to the playing fields and locker rooms of professional, collegiate and amateur sports, from the military to SpongeBob SquarePants.”
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.
“Jimmy Carter,” wrote Lerner, “was the best friend the Jews ever had as president of the United States…. Carter is speaking the truth as he knows it, and doing a great service to the Jews. It’s time to create a new openness to criticism and a new debate. Jimmy Carter has shown courage in trying to open that kind of space with his new book, and he deserves our warm thanks and support.
The winner of the Monitor’s fourth Schwarzschild Award was Haaretz editor David Landau, who told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel needed to be “raped” by the United States, adding, in sexual terminology too vulgar to repeat in a family newspaper, that conveying this sentiment to her had always been his fantasy.
Actor Ed Asner won the fifth annual Schwarzschild Award. A hard core leftist, Asner last year took up the cause of Israelis who refuse to serve in the IDF, penning an article that appeared on The Huffington Post and other left-leaning websites and blogs in which he approvingly cited the “courage” of Omer Goldman, a young Israeli woman who has already served two terms in an Israeli military jail for, in Asner’s words, “standing up to the government.”
Asner excitedly quoted Goldman’s observation that “the most dangerous thing in Palestine is the Israeli soldiers, the very people who are supposed to be on my side” and then offered his own bit of wisdom: “I find it hard to believe than anyone can look Omer in the eye and tell her that she has to risk her life and her future for Israel whether she wants to or not. It’s just not right. Especially during this time of year [Chanukah] when many of us are getting ready to celebrate a holiday about freedom….”
Who will be honored with the sixth annual Schwarzschild Award? Please help the Monitor decide.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org