The society dedicated to the great British philosopher’s life and work notes Levy’s political courage over decades in defending the human rights of Palestinians
Amherst, Massachusetts (June 21, 2019) — The Bertrand Russell Society today bestowed its annual Bertrand Russell Society Award on Israeli journalist Gideon Levy for his decades of defending the human rights of Palestinians and opposing their occupation.
In presenting the award at its annual meeting, the society noted Levy’s willingness to buck the dominant narrative of his own country, which is reminiscent of Russell’s insistence on speaking out against powerful interests in Britain during his lifetime, including his protests against World War I and nuclear weapons (for which, in both cases, he was imprisoned).
Each year, the society gives an award to an individual or organization whose work best furthers the interests and commitments of Bertrand Russell. Past recipients have included the A.C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, Studs Terkel, and Democracy Now!
Levy is a longtime columnist at Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.
“As we read Gideon Levy’s great columns, listen to his great speeches, and witness his political courage, we are struck by the parallels with Bertrand Russell,” BRS Chair of the Board John Lenz said on behalf of the Prize Award Committee. “Levy has been fierce in his defense of justice for the Palestinians, despite endless criticism and even death threats against him.”
The society also noted that, while Russell was an early supporter of Israel, he became a critic of its treatment of the Palestinians. Just days before his death in 1970, he wrote a powerful critique of Israel’s actions, which was read the day after his death at the International Conference of Parliamentarians in Cairo.
The 2019 Bertrand Russell Society Award was presented at the annual meeting of the Bertrand Russell Society, which is being held from June 20 to June 22 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Levy addressed the meeting from Israel.
The plaque presented to Levy reads: “The Bertrand Russell Society Award for 2019 is presented to Gideon Levy, whose brave advocacy of Palestinians’ rights and humanity furthers Bertrand Russell’s work in defending the human rights of the dispossessed. Given on June 21, 2019.”
ABOUT THE BERTRAND RUSSELL SOCIETY
Founded in 1974, the Bertrand Russell Society seeks to foster a better understanding of the life, work, and writings of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and how his contributions relate to today’s world. The society has a regular annual meeting featuring scholarly and popular presentations about Russell and related subjects, a business meeting, a banquet, and good fellowship. The society publishes the Bertrand Russell Society Bulletin. For more information, please see https://bertrandrussellsociety.org.
For more information:
John Lenz, Chair of the Board
The Bertrand Russell Society