The choice of laureate for this year´s Stockholm Human Rights Award – the Israeli NGO B’Tselem – can come as no surprise to anyone who has followed this award since it was first established. With only one exception, EVERY laureate so far – Richard Goldstone, George Soros, Cherif Bassiouni and Navi Pillay – all count among Israel´s most vocal critics in the world.
I will leave readers to… draw their own conclusions – but one can hardly escape the impression that being violently anti-Israel is a pre-requisite for winning the award….
In these times of almost unprecedented slaughter not least in the Middle East, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Syria and with hundreds of thousands more at risk there and in neighbouring Iraq, one must be allowed to marvel at this fixation on only one issue. One should think that the world would present a rather large field for humanitarian concern…
At the same time, I should add that I am genuinely proud that Israel is a country where organizations such as B´Tselem thrive, and where the range of opinions legitimately expressed in a very vibrant public debate, often exceeds by far what one could find in most European countries, including Sweden.
Whereas expressing the most harsh and scathing criticism of Israel´s own actions is accepted as a self-evident democratic right in the Swedish society – expressing one´s support for Israel, for instance, often would seem to carry a considerable social inconvenience and a cost.
Israeli society truly is exceptionally open – but only to be concerned with its most extreme forms of self-criticism can hardly be considered a balanced approach by the Stockholm Human Rights Award and Swedish Bar Associaton.