ethecon – Foundation for Ethics & Economics
The international ethecon „Blue Planet Award 2009” goes to Uri Avnery, Israeli activist for peace and human rights.
The ceremonial act in which Uri Avnery receives the international ethecon-prize “Blue Planet Award 2009) is to take place in Berlin, Pfefferwerk, on November 21st 2009.
In response to its call for proposals, issued in March 2009, ethecon - Foundation for Ethics & Economics had received numerous nominations for its two annual awards, the true prize “Blue Planet Award” as well as the mock-prize “Black Planet Award”.
After a comprehensive selection process by the Foundation’s Award Committee, its Board of Directors decided on September 1st to give the Blue Planet Award 2009 to the renowned peace activist and human rights advocate from Israel, Uri Avnery.
The Board has based its decision on the following grounds:
Uri Avnery from Tel Aviv is a man of letters and journalist who, for decades now, has been fighting for a peaceful coexistence in Palestine – and has very often risked his life in doing so. After having left Irgun, a Zionist underground organisation, in a conspicuous act, he has committed himself, since 1946, to promoting peace between the peoples of the region and has fought, in word and deed, against all odds and opposition for the establishment of an Israeli and a Palestine state with Jerusalem as their common capital.
From 1950 on, for many years, he was editor of the weekly Haolam Hazeh, the leading alternative-media magazine in Israel and so highly disputed that its office rooms and printing shops were, time and again, targets of arson attack and bombings.
From 1965 to 1973 and again from 1979 to 1981, Avnery was member of the Knesset, a one-man opposition against the rest of Israel’s parliament. As early as in 1974, he started to look for secret contacts to the leadership of the PLO.
When he crossed the lines in 1982, during the Battle of Beirut, to see Yassir Arafat as the first Israeli ever who met the Palestinian leader, it was a political sensation of international dimensions. Over and over again, he held secret meetings with leading Palestinian politicians at the risk of his own life, and in 2004 he himself protected Yassir Arafat as a living shield when this man was threatened to be murdered by Israeli authorities.
In 1992, Avnery founded the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) movement and has led it since then. Lately, in 2008, he broke with an aid convoy through the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Over decades, Uri Avnery has tried to influence the public opinion in Israel with a huge number of articles and books many of which had been translated into several languages. But time and again, he was threatened to be assassinated, and several times his offices were destroyed.
For his courageous and energetic commitment to peace and human rights, Avnery was honoured with a number of prizes, most prominent among them the Right Livelihood Award (the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) which he and his wife Rachel received in 2001.
Obviously, Uri Avnery’s adamant fight for a peaceful coexistence in Palestine and the enforcement of human rights worldwide has to be regarded as a morally outstanding contribution to the salvation and preservation of our planet. For this reason, ethecon – Foundation for Ethics & Economics awards him with the “Blue Planet Award 2009”.
Since 2006, this international prize has been annually awarded to persons who excel in their commitment to moral principles instead of economic conveniences and, in doing so, promote the preservation of the Blue Planet. (Likewise, its counterpart, the Black Planet Award, is given to persons who are infamous for helping to destroy our planet.)
With its “Blue Planet Award”, ethecon wishes to honour men and women who are brave, incorruptible, integer and also prepared to accept severe disadvantages, punishments and even dangers for their personal lives while pursuing their ideas and ideals requires civil disobedience and a resolute opposition to the prevailing conventions and laws. Those persons who have the courage to stand up for their own beliefs in favour of the concerns of humankind, regardless of their personal interests, are the ones who defend, nurture and nurse that sensitive plant called human ethics.
In a world where profit tends to be the only criterion for development and major decisions, the laureates of the “Blue Planet Award” are acting like ‘Davids’ against ‘Goliaths’ – the powerful who neglect the desire of the majority of mankind for justice, peace and a sound environment and ruin its living conditions instead. These Davids are being discriminated against, excluded, penalized; often, they are even persecuted and vitally endangered. And yet, they are the ones to whom mankind owes what still exists, however weakly, as peace, social security and justice, and environmental protection.
ethecon’s annual “Blue Planet Award” is to mobilise people for peace, justice and conservation. In combination with the mock-prize “Black Planet Award”, it should help to advert and sensitize the public, to disclose backgrounds of current calamities and expose those responsible for them, and to strengthen the resistance against war, injustice and ecocide.