A strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, won the prestigious 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature last week. French novelist Annie Ernaux, 82, is a long-time critic of Israel and has signed a number of letters denouncing the occupation state over its apartheid practices and crimes against Palestinians.
Her most recent public support came last year following Israel’s brutal crackdown on Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem followed by an 11-day bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel killed at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people during the bombardment.
Ernaux signed a letter last year headed “Letter against apartheid: in support of the Palestinian struggle for decolonisation”. The signatories said that it was “wrong and misleading” to present Israel’s onslaught on Gaza as a war between two equal parties: “Israel is the colonising power. Palestine is colonised. This is not a conflict, but rather apartheid.” They mentioned the near universal consensus about Israel’s practice of the crime of apartheid. “The world is finally starting to call the Israeli system by name,” they added, citing reports from various human rights groups including B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Showing solidarity with the BDS movement, in 2019 Ernaux signed a letter calling on a French state-owned broadcasting network not to air the Eurovision Song Contest, which that year was being held in Israel. A year earlier, she signed a letter opposing the establishment of a season of cultural events by the French and Israel governments to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the occupation state. Both of these letters accused Israel of using cultural events to whitewash its crimes against Palestinians.
Ernaux joins the likes of Winston Churchill and Bertrand Russell as winners of the coveted prize and her victory has sparked excitement in the world of art and literature. Articles across all major news agencies have hailed the professor’s work except, that is, those in Israel.