The city of Frankfurt is slated to present the prestigious Theodor Adorno Prize, which comes with a 50,000 euro award, to a US professor who advocates a sweeping boycott of ties with Israel’s cultural and academic establishment and has defended Hezbollah and Hamas as progressive organizations.
The prize recipient, Dr. Judith Butler, a professor in the rhetoric and comparative literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley, has courted intense criticism in Germany, Israel and the US ahead of the September 11 ceremony.Judith Butler defended herself in Mondoweiss and denied describing Hezbollah and Hamas as progressive:
Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, a Frankfurt-based Middle East expert, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that by presenting the Adorno Prize to Butler, the city of Frankfurt is legitimizing a “de facto boycott of its partner city Tel Aviv’s academic and cultural institutions,” because Butler supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state.
Von der Osten-Sacken sparked the effort to rescind the award to Butler in a widely read early June article on the website of the Berlin weekly Jungle World titled “Adorno prize for Hamas fan.”
My remarks on Hamas and Hezbollah have been taken out of context and badly distort my established and continuing views.... I was asked by a member of an academic audience a few years ago whether I thought Hamas and Hezbollah belonged to “the global left" and I replied with two points. My first point was merely descriptive: those political organizations define themselves as anti-imperialist, and anti-imperialism is one characteristic of the global left, so on that basis one could describe them as part of the global left.Really? Let's look at the video:
I think, yes, understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive that are on the left; that are part of a global Left is extremely important....Again, a critical and important engagement, I mean I certainly think it should be entered into the conversation on the Left."
While she goes on to say in Mondoweiss that she is personally against violence (in the video she is slightly more equivocal, only saying that some on the left might oppose violence or encourage other non-violent options), the fact remains that she adamantly described Hamas and Hezbollah as being on the left - and insistied that describing them as such is "extremely important."
She is clearly lying in the Mondoweiss article. She was giving her own opinion as to where in the political spectrum Hamas and Hezbollah fall, not explaining how they describe themselves.
But besides the lie, her stated opinion in the video is nothing short of amazing. A celebrated academic who is unabashedly left-wing goes out of her way to describe Islamist groups - groups that are anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-human rights and really totally opposed to everything that progressives say they hold dear - as part of the fabric of the Left, her Left, the political philosophy that she is proudly part of.
And there is only one possible reason why she can describe these regressive Islamist groups as part of her Left: because they are anti-Israel.
Butler's views are so twisted that she believes that hating Israel is really the only criterion one needs to be considered progressive!
Giving such a person a major academic award is indeed outrageous.