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How one professor poked Israeli establishment in the eye

Despite criticism by the Israeli right, the prestigious Israel Prize has been awarded to David Shulman, the co-founder of the anti-occupation NGO Ta'ayush.
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When professor David Dean Shulman won the Israel Prize, his admirers called his decision to donate the 75,000-shekel ($20,000) prize to anti-occupation organization Ta’ayush "sweet revenge." Other anti-occupation activists contend that the leading researcher of religion and philosophy chose a creative and intelligent form of protest to reconcile the ethical dilemma the prize presented him. On the one hand, as an opponent of the occupation, accepting the prize at all might be construed as reneging on his worldview in front of the Israeli establishment. On the other hand, rejecting the prize and refusing to shake the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Independence Day would look as if he were making himself a pariah.

Established jointly by Shulman and his colleague Gadi Elgazi during the start of the second intifada in 2000, Ta'ayush — "living together" in Arabic — set a goal of protecting the basic rights of Arabs in the territories and Israel. The organization is very active in dealing with the appropriation of Palestinian lands by the state as well as the displacement of the Bedouin.

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