2017 Gandhi Peace Award

Ralph Nader – Omar Barghouti


Omar Barghout, co-founder of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement walks into Yale University's Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall on Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut, with Ralph Nader, center right, to receive a 2017 Gandhi Peace Award from the group Promoting Enduring Peace. See the New Haven Register story here. Arnold Gold — New Haven Register

On April 23, 2017, Promoting Enduring Peace presented 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 award announcement was promoted since July of 2016 due to the need for a campaign to pressure the Israeli government to allow Barghouti to travel to the United States.

The following speeches were recorded and produced by Scott Harris, executive producer of Between The Lines radio newsmagazine and Counterpoint Radio.

Award introductions and speeches:

Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace

Omar Barghouti, 2017 Gandhi Peace Award Laureate

barghoutihedOmar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender. He is a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, New York, and a master's degree 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, Newsweek, 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.

Charlie Pillsbury of the Center on Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law

Ralph Nader, 2017 Gandhi Peace Award Laureate

naderhedRalph 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 publi 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; Environmental Protection Agency; and Consumer Product and 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 percent support to Israeli militarism, Nader talked about the need to act together with the Israeli peace movement. He is a sharp critic of the Pentagon, its militarism and its waste. His most recent initiative was Breaking Through Power, a conference in Washington, D.C. Subscribe and get Between The Lines' Weekly Summary in your inbox!