BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment: Arts
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Jerusalem Prize for Israel critic Sontag
Susan Sontag, winner of the 2001 Jerusalem Prize
Susan Sontag is the 18th recipient of the prize
American author Susan Sontag has won Israel's top literary award, the Jerusalem Prize.

Sontag is the 18th recipient of the award, which is given every two years at the Jerusalem Book Fair to a writer whose work explores the freedom of the individual in society

As she collected her prize, she used her acceptance speech at Wednesday's ceremony in Jerusalem to criticise Israeli policy towards Palestinians - despite first claiming that writers "ought not to be opinion machines".

There can be no peace here until the planting of Israeli communities in the territories is halted

Susan Sontag

The writer condemned what she called Israel's "collective punishment" of Palestinians and called for the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Judges

The last recipient of the award was another American, Don Delillo, and past winners have included Graham Greene, Jorge Luis Borges, VS Naipaul, Milan Kundera and JM Coetzee.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was one of the three judges who selected Sontag for the prize, presented at Jerusalem's International Convention Centre.

Sontag had faced some pressure from Israeli peace activists to turn down the award, which they argued would be seen as a gesture of support to the current Israeli government.

But Sontag used the occasion to criticise Israel.
Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres: One of the three prize judges

"I believe that the doctrine of collective responsibility as a rationale for collective punishment is never justified militarily or ethically," she said.

"I mean, of course, the use of disproportionate firepower against civilians, the demolition of their homes, the deprivation of their livelihood and their access to employment, schooling, medical services, free access to neighbouring towns and communities.

"I also believe that there can be no peace here until the planting of Israeli communities in the territories is halted, followed by the eventual dismantling of these communities, these settlements," she concluded.

Sontag is Jewish and was born in New York in 1933.

She has written six works of non-fiction and four novels, written and directed four feature-length films and has also directed plays in the US and Italy.

Her most recent book is In America.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

09 May 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Words stoke Mid-East fires
24 Apr 01 | Africa
Nurturing Ghana's writing talent
26 Mar 01 | Arts
Men judge female fiction prize
20 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
BBC wins back Booker
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Arts stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Arts stories