Israeli-American Professor Judea Pearl Given Award for Courage

Pearl said that his life experience and the rise of “Zionophobic” racism in academia had made it “necessary” for him to take a stand.

May 10, 2019 09:16
2 minute read.
Judea Pearl

Judea Pearl. (photo credit: DANIEL PEARL FOUNDATION)


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Judea Pearl, father of the late journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Islamic terrorists in 2002 while on assignment in Pakistan, is receiving CAMERA’s inaugural Ometz Award for courage.

Pearl said that his life experience and the rise of “Zionophobic” racism in academia had made it “necessary” for him to take a stand.

The UCLA computer scientist is being rewarded for his public renunciation of his status as a “distinguished alumnus” of New York University. Pearl, took his former school to task in April when the school announced that it would give the President’s Service Award to the anti-Israel student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

“In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus," Pearl tweeted, calling out the SJP. "The decision to confer an award on SJP renders other NYU awards empty of content and suspect of reckless selection process.”

“I bet my esteem colleagues at NYU do not know that their university is awarding a ‘president service award’ to SJP, a student organization that prides itself on crushing meetings of other student organizations,” he said.

“Professor Pearl was absolutely correct when he said SJP crushes other student meetings,” said Yoni Michanie, a campus coordinator for CAMERA on Campus. “SJP activists have barged into and deliberately disrupted many of our student-supported meetings at colleges across the country.”

“This past year, members of SJP burned Israel’s flag and physically assaulted students at our events, and their consistent threats and intimidation have made it difficult to walk proudly as a Jew on campus,” said Adela Cojab, a CAMERA-supported student at NYU.

Cojab added that Professor Pearl’s decision to confront the university about SJP was “inspiring” to her and other students.

Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director, said, “When we heard Judea gave back NYU’s recognition, we immediately thought of honoring him. Too many pro-Israel academics keep silent. Judea Pearl’s act of courage is rare and admirable. As a Turing Award winner, he’s also among the truly brilliant and influential thinkers today on machine intelligence and human reasoning.”

Pearl, who is originally from Tel Aviv, noted that "now is the time for all academics to defend the truth and oppose the bullying tactics of anti-Israel academics and student activists. We need to speak up for the truth about Israel and the moral imperatives of Zionism and Jewish history.”

“I am grateful to CAMERA for this award above all because I hope it encourages others on campus to speak up,” he added.

Pearl will receive the award at CAMERA’s gala on June 2nd in New York City.

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