Australia honoring Israel critic with prize

Australian Jewish leaders are roiled over the awarding of the country’s only international peace prize to a staunch critic of Israel.

John Pilger, an award-winning Australian-born journalist and filmmaker living in London, will receive the Sydney Peace Prize in November.

In 2007 Pilger wrote that Israel and the U.S. had agreed to a “final solution” to the problem of the Palestinians. Earlier this year Pilger said, “Today’s holocaust-in-the-making … is in its final stages. The difference today is that it is a joint U.S.-Israeli project.”

Robert Goot, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said the selection of Pilger was a “sad day.”

Previous winners of the prize include South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi, whose award in 2003 sparked a storm of protest from the Jewish community. — jta