“An Embarrassing Day for Sydney” – John Pilger awarded the Sydney Peace Prize

August 11, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW and national community leadership are shocked at the announcement that controversial author and film-maker John Pilger has been awared the 2009 Sydney Peace Prize.

John Pilger

John Pilger

President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot told J-Wire: “This is a sad day for Sydney’s Peace Prize and an embarrassing day for Sydney. Pilger has done nothing to promote peace but has only promoted one side of the dispute. He lacks objectivity and his pronouncements are often replete with factual inaccuracies and distortion of history. His uncritical acceptance of one side’s narrative is made at the expense of Israel’s position.”

In making the award the Sydney Peace Prize jury’s citation reads “For work as an author, film-maker and journalist as well as for courage as a foreign and war correspondent in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard. For commitment to peace with justice by exposing and holding governments to account for human rights abuses and for fearless challenges to censorship in any form.”

Sydney Peace Foundation Director Professor Stuart Rees speaking on Pilger said “His work inspires all those who value peace with justice.”

The Sydney Peace Foundation claims in a statement “His remaking of the film Palestine is Still the Issue reminds the world of a continuing occupation and cruel injustice.”

Robin Margo, President of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies said: “It is a disgrace. Anyone wanting to know my opinion of the award should Google Auberon Waugh’s verb “to pilger”.

John Pilger has twice won the U.K.’s most prestigious award for journalism…Journalist of the Year.

Pilger is scheduled to give the annual City of Sydney Peace Prize lecture at the Sydney Opera House on November 5. He will be awarded the Peace Prize itself  in the MacLaurin Hall in Sydney University on the same day.

In 2003, controversy raged over the decision by the Sydney Peace Foundation to award the Sydney Peace Prize to Palestinian leader Dr Hanan Ashrawi.


One Response to ““An Embarrassing Day for Sydney” – John Pilger awarded the Sydney Peace Prize”
  1. philip mendes says:

    See my earlier paper on Pilger and Israel from Australian Journal of Jewish Studies

    John Pilger on Israel/Palestine: a critical analysis of his views and sources by Philip Mendes, Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, In Press, Volume 22, 2009, pp.97-112

    Abstract: The Australian-born journalist John Pilger is recognized internationally as a vigorous advocate of left-wing causes. Included within this perspective is his strong support for the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Pilger’s discourse is generally delivered in black and white terms – Israel as the bad oppressor and the Palestinians as the oppressed victims – which leaves little room for the complexity of the conflict.

    This paper critically analyses both Pilger’s one-sided viewpoint, and the frames and metaphors he uses to construct his arguments. Particular attention is drawn to the way he humanizes the Palestinian struggle by interviewing ordinary people rather than official leaders or sources, whilst in contrast he stereotypes Israeli actions by always citing Israeli government leaders and officials. In addition, he avoids discussions with balanced peace activists such as Sari Nusseibeh and Amos Oz who are critical of extremists on both sides of the conflict.

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