Home » The Israel Prize Is Meant to Unify. More Often, It’s Mired in Controversy.

The Israel Prize Is Meant to Unify. More Often, It’s Mired in Controversy.

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Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer who represents Professor Goldreich, said that even if his client did support B.D.S., such support should not disqualify him from receiving the Israel Prize.

“Now, to prove that someone called for a boycott, you need to scrutinize his writings and signatures, driving us straight toward a McCarthyist process,” Mr. Sfard said, referring to the 1940s and 1950s in the United States, when leftists were regularly accused of subversion and treason. “This is an attempt to exclude a whole political camp in Israel.”

Professor Goldreich missed this year’s ceremony, which was recorded on Sunday for broadcast on Thursday. The judges said that should he be approved, he could receive the award at next year’s ceremony, if not before.

Mr. Gallant, the education minister, appeared emboldened by the court decision.

“Prof. Goldreich may be a brilliant scientist, but his support for the boycott movement and his call to boycott Ariel University is a spit in the face of the state of Israel and of Israeli academia and is possibly even a violation of the law,” he wrote on Twitter. He added that he would use the time to investigate whether the professor’s “current renunciation” of the boycott movement was genuine.

Mr. Gallant’s staff declined requests for comment.

“I view this (unlawful) behavior of the minister as a small step in the process of pushing the left in Israel outside the limits of legitimacy, a process that has been going on for decades now and has been intensified in the last years,” Professor Goldreich said in an emailed comment. “I am happy to play a role in the struggle to block this delegitimization process and the attempt to reverse it.”

The professor’s colleagues and supporters held an alternative award ceremony for him at Weizmann Institute this week, where he referred to the award as the “Likud Prize.”

“I think that the Likud and the state of Israel are two different things,” he said.

The Weizmann Institute took out ads in the Hebrew newspapers on Wednesday congratulating Professor Goldreich and saying that, as far as they were concerned, he had won the prize.



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