You can quote me on that…

Arab council cancels award after intended recipient visits Jerusalem

From Haaretz:

The Council of Arab Ambassadors in France revoked its decision to award Algerian writer Boualem Sansal a prize for best Arab novel, shortly after Sansal took part in the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem last month.

Sansal, who writes in French, was due to receive the prize for his novel, “Rue Darwin,” on June 6 at the Arab World Institute in Paris.

But the French media have been reporting over the last few days that the council decided to call off the award ceremony and ask the judges to reconvene.

One of the judges announced following the decision that he was quitting.

“I resign from the prize council, which shamefully decided to revoke the judges’ selection, and I invite my colleagues to act likewise and to create a different framework for the prize, to honor the work of Boualem Sansal, an Algerian author, a free person and a big believer in face-to-face conversations,” Olivier Poivre d’Arvor wrote in the French newspaper Liberation.

Poivre d’Arvor, who heads the state-funded radio station France Culture and has served on the prize committee since 2008, said the decision was made shortly after Sansal – who has been widely criticized in the Arab world for drawing a connection between Islamic fundamentalism and Nazism – took part in the Israeli festival.

“The prize judges received a strange e-mail message cancelling the prize date ‘due to current events in the Arab world,'” d’Arvor wrote. “The e-mail proposed that the judges reconvene on June 12 for a meeting headed by the Jordanian and Arab League ambassadors to Paris.”

The Jordanian ambassador, who heads the Council of Arab Ambassadors in France, had been scheduled to hand Sansal the award, along with the director of the Arab World Institute.

“Behind all this was hiding a shameful baseness,” wrote d’Arvor. “During the time between selecting the prize winners and granting the prize, Boualem Sansal took part in the Jerusalem festival. Hamas, for its part, immediately released an official statement condemning the visit as an act of betrayal against the Palestinians, hence the reaction of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in France.”

I know nothing about the author, but this closing part of the article suggests he’s a believer in free speech; something that makes him an enemy of a number of institutions in this part of the world.

In an interview with Haaretz while he was in Israel for the writers festival, Sansal said he was unfazed by the antagonistic reaction to his decision to take part.

“If I had to be afraid of everybody who’s crazy or sick, or of what they say, I wouldn’t be able to do anything,” he said. “I would stay at home, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing.”

The sound of silence

From the incomparable Elder of Ziyon:

Egypt imprisons all Gazans for four days

Egypt is closing down the Rafah border with Gaza from today through Sunday for the presidential runoff elections.

Human rights organizations are upset at this inhumane blockade where Egypt is imprisoning 1.5 million innocent Gazans and employing collective punishment against them, in violation of innumerable humanitarian laws.

Just kidding! They only use that language with a different country bordering Gaza.

A small example of the type of material the mainstream press neither highlights nor reports. Why? One reason is probably because it does not fit their worldview. Cynicism is an underrated survival quality.

A link or two

The video has nothing to do with the links; it’s just beautiful. Thank you little green footballs.

Meantime, a few links worth clicking:

  • CiF Watch on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and an object lesson for all consumers of media.
  • The Times of Israel has an exclusive showing of new photos (or newly published photos) from the ’67 war.
  • Harry’s Place has a piece about the latest Neturei Karta political befirending.
  • The Jerusalem Post has a report including photos from today’s Gay Pride event in Tel Aviv.
  • LinkedIn’s password troubles are given a quick update at the Register.
  • The *European Championships (soccer) are about to start. The BBC has a report on a racist incident which suggests there may be trouble ahead.

(*The Jerusalem Post back pages today ran a few pieces on the championships, mentioning potential winners. The word England was absent from the report… I also do not expect England to do well. However, being host to one of the top leagues in the world, if the English national team fail to deliver (again), those at the top should hang their heads in shame. Now I am off to the dictionary, to check on the meaning of schadenfreude.)

Shabbat Shalom!