Paris, 8 October 2022
In a letter to the Swedish Academy’s Chairman of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Prof. Anders Olsson, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed “shock at the 2022 selection...”
“Indeed, in the past, well-known writers such as Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Roald Dahl, etc. have openly expressed their antisemitism.”
The letter continued, “the Swedish Academy’s choice this year is chilling. Annie Ernaux is an extreme-left activist who regularly denounces Israel as ‘an Apartheid state’. She supports the so-called BDS movement – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting Israeli and Jewish products, companies, sport, art and culture... that is so reminiscent of the 1930s Nazi ‘Kauft Nicht Bei Juden’ (buy not from the Jews!).”
The BDS campaign and related activity is listed as a contemporary example of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). In fact, Sweden has adopted the Definition of Antisemitism and, as one of its initiators in 1998, the Government of Sweden presently covers the role of Chair of the IHRA, building on its work two decades earlier.
Samuels stressed that “BDS is a danger to Jews everywhere... An example is Madam Ernaux’ support for the attack by Houria Bouteldja on a Miss France candidate, April Benayoum, whose father is Italo-Israeli. At the time, Bouteldja had commented, ‘one cannot be an innocent Israeli’... that sparked an avalanche of death threats on social media against the young candidate.”
“Considering her anti-Israel militancy, we also feel that a literary prize of almost a million dollars may end up contributing to the violent activities of pro-Palestinian organizations on the EU terror list.”
“Mr. Chairman, your Committee’s selection must have been superficial. We only hope that it will not hold serious consequences,” concluded Samuels.
This letter has been shared with IHRA Chair, Swedish Ambassador Ann Bernes.
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