Professor Catherine Hall, a noted British academic and historian, has refused to accept a $330,000 prize from Tel Aviv University for apparently political reasons.

Hall, of University College London (UCL), was slated to receive the Dan David Prize from Tel Aviv University on Sunday, but withdrew her acceptance citing lobbying by anti-Israel organisations and supposed political reasons.

“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 annual academic award includes a series of $1 million prizes which are handed out in three fields.

As a historian, Hall was due to receive the prize for her “impact on social history, as a pioneer in gender history, race and slavery.”

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) lauded Hall’s decision as “a significant endorsement of the campaign to end ties with Israeli institutions.”

Hall’s share of the million dollar prize will be distributed to students as scholarships, it was announced at the prize ceremony.

“Some of you may have heard that one of this year’s laureates selected for the Past Prize in Social History, Prof. Catherine Hall, decided not to accept the prize, apparently for political reasons, Ariel David, son of the late Dan David and member of the Dan David Foundation Board, said in a statement.

“I am happy to announce that the Dan David Foundation will donate the entirety of the sum that Prof. Hall did not collect – $300,000 – to support Israeli and international scholars and researchers in the field of history here at Tel Aviv University,” he continued. “This will give Israelis of all backgrounds, whether Jewish or Arab, as well as international scholars, the opportunity to meet at this beautiful campus and engage in academic discussion, research and discovery.

“We believe that this action can contribute more to mutual understanding and dialogue than any misguided effort to boycott the bastion of democracy and intellectual freedom that is Tel Aviv University,” David concluded.

By: United with Israel Staff

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