(photo credit: Reuters)
SYDNEY, Australia -- The awarding of a peace prize to the American Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky, a strident critic of Israel and of American foreign policy, is drawing criticism in Australia.
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The citation for this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, announced Wednesday, says that Chomsky was chosen “for inspiring the convictions of millions about a common humanity and for unfailing moral courage.”
“The choice of Noam Chomsky continues a pattern of Sydney Peace Prize recipients who have demonstrated questionable credentials as legitimate peace-makers,” said Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. “It does nothing to enhance the standing of either the recipient or the prize itself.”
Michael Danby, a member of parliament from Australia’s governing Labor
Party, criticized the choice by the Sydney Peace Foundation, which
awards the prize and is based at the University of Sydney. He called the
award “a bodgy prize from a bodgy institute.”
Chomsky, 82, sparked a furor recently with an essay on the killing of
Osama bin Laden in which he wrote that George W. Bush’s crimes “vastly
exceed” those of the al-Qaida leader.
“We might ask how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at his
compound, assassinated him and dumped his body in the Atlantic,” he
Chomsky has said that he is “honored to receive this prestigious award.”
He said he would fly to Australia in November to collect his $50,000
prize and deliver the City of Sydney Peace Prize lecture at the
University of Sydney.