Feminist historian Catherine Hall is rejecting a US$300,000 academic prize for her work, citing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, a victory for campaigners promoting an economic and cultural boycott of Israel.
"This was an independent political choice, undertaken after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine, but with differing views as to how best to act," Hall said in a statement.
The Dan David Foundation grants three prestigious awards for studies in Past, Present and Future and selected Hall, a cultural history professor at the University College of London, for her "impact on social history, as a pioneer in gender history, race and slavery. While active in the women’s liberation movement, her work focused on women’s history in the 1970s."
A prominent feminist scholar, Hall was married to the late Stuart Hall, a founder of the New Left Review, which is credited with expanding cultural studies to include race and gender.
Hall's decision is a victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which encourages scholars and artists to forego visits to Israel in protest of its internationally condemened occupation of Palestinian land.
The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine said that Hall's decision is "a significant endorsement of the campaign to end ties with Israeli institutions."
The prize money will instead go toward scholarships for history students at the Tel Aviv University, reported Haaretz.
Israel again drew criticism on Sunday for defending the expropriation of Palestinian lands as a benefit to its residents, who then move to Israeli settlements and find industrial jobs. The arguments was presented to the High Court of Justice in a petition to end the 1975 order to use the land to build the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.