Chomskys peace prize draws ire in Australia

The awarding of a peace prize to Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky, a strident critic of Israel and of American foreign policy, is drawing criticism in Australia.

The citation for this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, announced last week, says that the American was chosen “for inspiring the convictions of millions about a common humanity and for unfailing moral courage.”

“The choice of Noam Chomsky continues a pattern of Sydney Peace Prize recipients who have demonstrated questionable credentials as legitimate peace-makers,” said Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. “It does nothing to enhance the standing of either the recipient or the prize itself.”

The Peace Prize is awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation based at the University of Sydney.

Chomsky, 82, sparked a furor recently with an essay on the killing of Osama bin Laden in which he wrote that George W. Bush’s crimes “vastly exceed” those of the al Qaida leader.

Chomsky has said that he is “honored to receive this prestigious award.” He said he would fly to Australia in November to collect his $50,000 prize and deliver a lecture. — jta