BERLIN – Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman ratcheted up on
Monday Jerusalem’s criticism of the city of Frankfurt for its decision to grant
an award to a US academic who has called for a boycott of the Jewish
The Theodor Adorno Prize and its cash grant of 50,000 euros was
given on Tuesday to Judith Butler, a gender studies theorist at the University
of California at Berkeley.
In an emailed statement to The Jerusalem Post,
Handelsman wrote that he was “disappointed” by Frankfurt’s decision to recognize
the American academic.
“In the center of her agenda it states that
Israelis should be boycotted because they are Israelis,” he noted, adding that
“it is disconcerting that a prize that memorializes the victims of the German
Nazi boycotts will be presented to someone who sees a boycott as a legitimate
The award, which is given in recognition of outstanding
achievement in the areas of philosophy, theater, music and film, is named for
sociologist and philosopher Theodor Adorno. Adorno, a critic of the Nazis and
son of a Jewish man, lived in exile during World War II.
The envoy said
that Butler had put herself “in the front line of those who advocate a boycott
Speaking to the Post on Monday from New York, Phyllis
Chesler, an emeritus professor of psychology and women’s studies at City
University of New York, accused the Germans of “hiding behind Butler,” saying
that “by valorizing her anti-Israel views they justify and elevate their own
anti- Israel views.”
Jewish organizations and pro- Israel leftist groups
demonstrated on Tuesday at the location of the award ceremony, St. Paul’s
Church in Frankfurt am Main.
Butler triggered worldwide criticism in 2006
by saying, “Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are
progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely
Speaking from the rally on Tuesday against the decision to
award Butler the prize, Sacha Stawski, the head of the pro-Israel media watchdog
group Honestly Concerned, told the Post via phone that 150-200 people were at
the demonstration. He said “a mix of Jews and non-Jews and the pro-Zionist left
group” turned out under the motto “No honor for hatred of Israel.” He also said
a rabbi from Frankfurt will address the group.
Stawski was also scheduled
to speak and to announce that his group no longer plans to use Frankfurt for
pro-Israel events because of the city’s honoring of Butler, who, he says,
supports Hamas and Hezbollah.