Nader, Barghouti to Be Given
Gandhi Peace Award
July 22, 2016. Promoting Enduring Peace has announced that it is presenting its Gandhi Peace Award jointly to Ralph Nader and Omar Barghouti. The Gandhi Peace Award has been presented since 1960 to people who have made outstanding contributions to world peace, creating a sustainable ecology and social justice. The first honoree was Eleanor Roosevelt. It has been awarded to César Chávez, Dr. Benjamin Spock and Daniel Ellsberg. Recent recipients have been Rabbis Arik Ascherman and Ehud Bandel, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Kathy Kelly and Tom Goldtooth.
It comes with a cash prize and a medallion made of “peace bronze”, metal fashioned from recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems. The ceremony to honor Nader and Barghouti will take place in April of 2017. It is being announced early due to the need for a campaign to pressure the Israeli government to allow Barghouti to travel to the United States.
Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender. He is a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, NY, and a master’s in Philosophy (ethics) from Tel Aviv University. He is the author of, BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights . His commentaries and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Politico, and on Bloomberg TV, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, among others. He spoke at Yale University in 2013.
He is a “permanent resident” of Israel but does not have citizenship rights there. In March of 2016 he was threatened with “civil assassination” by a high Israeli government official; Amnesty International has condemned these threats, expressing concern for Barghouti’s “safety and liberty” and upholding his right as a human rights defender to campaign “to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations” and to advocate “for the use of non-violent means in doing so.”
In April he was denied renewal of his travel document, effectively banning him from leaving the country. Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa division, told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”
Promoting Enduring Peace will join with many organizations and personalities calling for the Israeli government to allow Barghouti and all Palestinians under its control to travel freely.
Ralph Nader has been one of America’s most effective social critics for over 50 years. His inspiration and example have galvanized a whole population of consumer advocates, citizen activists, and public interest lawyers who in turn have established their own organizations throughout the country.
As a crusading attorney he first made headlines in 1965 with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, a scathing indictment that lambasted the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearings and a series of automobile safety laws passed in 1966. Since 1966, Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws such as the motor vehicle safety laws, Safe Drinking Water Act; the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; the recall of millions of defective motor vehicles; access to government through the Freedom of Information Act of 1974; and for many lives saved.
In the political realm Nader has raised not only consumer issues, but the need for peace. He spoke out against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 . While most politicians gave 100% support to Israeli militarism Nader talked about the need to act together with the Israeli peace movement. He has called for the U.S. to support the treaties with Native American nations that were solemnly adopted by Congress and then ignored with racist disregard. In a 2013 article criticizing the continual use by the owner of the Washington professional football team of the brutal epithet “redskin” for the name of the team, Nader recalled his visits to Indian reservations as a Harvard Law School student
His most recent initiative was Breaking Through Power a conference in Washington D.C. where 80 speakers talked about how citizens can reduce inequalities of power to create a better society.
Nader lives in Winsted, Connecticut.