American scholar Judith Butler has won a philosophy award, the Theodor Adorno Prize, upsetting Jewish groups who don’t want to see the Nazi refugee Adorno’s name associated with Ms. Butler. Per Ahram Online, which aggregated several news reports from around the world, a group of German scholars said, “Someone who boycotts Israel can’t be an Adorno Prize winner.”
Ms. Butler has vocally criticized Israel and the equation of Jewishness and Zionism; in a 2003 London Review of Books piece, she advocated for the ability of Jews to dissent against Israel without facing retribution. “I am calling for a space for dissent for Jews, and non-Jews, who have criticisms of Israel to articulate,” she wrote, “but I am also opposing anti-semitic reductions of Jewishness to Israeli interests.”
In this video hosted by the European Graduate School, Ms. Butler discusses a boycott movement “in solidarity with the Palestinian community against Israeli occupation.”
Ms. Butler’s advocacy of a new manner of framing the question of Israel has clearly made her unpopular among the Jewish scholarly community, though she herself is Jewish and attended Hebrew school as a child.
Ms. Butler, a professor at Berkeley, spent last semester as a visiting professor at Columbia.