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Aung Sung Su Kyi to Jared Kushner: The Nobel Prize, from tragedy to farce

There is not much respect or credibility left to this prize after it was given to the likes of Henry Kissinger. But nominating Kushner? Really?
Then-US presidential adviser Jared Kushner speaks in Rabat on 22 December 2020 (AFP)

Quite serendipitously, two pieces of news surfaced in the global media early this month, and made one wonder which way the endangered earth is turning.

One was the spectacle of a military coup in Myanmar, and the other the hilarity that Jared Kushner - the former first son-in-law, as Americans would say - had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. You may ask how these two pieces of news are related; allow me to explain.  

There is not much respect or credibility left to this prize after or even before it was given to these highly suspicious characters

In Myanmar, a pre-dawn coup was staged on 1 February, unseating the government and putting its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was declared to be in charge.  

You would search in vain for any sympathy for the disgraced Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who willingly put her name and reputation at the service of the selfsame generals as they conducted genocide against Rohingya Muslims. For all the world knew, this was an internal affair between Aung San Suu Kyi and her military patrons, who put her in and out of house arrest to do their dirty deeds, ethnically cleansing their country of Muslims.  

In December 2019, Aung San Suu Kyi actively defended these generals at the Hague against the charge of genocide. “Intercommunal violence”, she called the genocide of Muslims, or else action against “terrorists”. The only thing masses of Muslims saw from the “human rights hero” of white people in Europe and North America was the slaughter of thousands of human beings, with her blessing and justification.    

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That brings us to Kushner and the news that he has been nominated for the same Nobel Peace Prize that was once given to Aung San Suu Kyi, and previously to Henry Kissinger, another accused war criminal.  

There is not much respect or credibility left to this prize after or even before it was given to these highly suspicious characters. But still, Kushner? Really? How did that happen?  

All in the family

Well, Alan Dershowitz happened. Much of the world at large outside the US is blissfully unaware of this top propaganda officer for Israel who went ahead and nominated Kushner for a Nobel.  

This is not necessarily a newsworthy event. Former President Donald Trump himself was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, so why not his beloved Ivanka’s spouse? All in the family.  

Kushner, along with Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, listen to then-US President Donald Trump speak in Wisconsin on 2 November 2020 (AFP)
Kushner, along with Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, listen to then-US President Donald Trump speak in Wisconsin on 2 November 2020 (AFP)

Any university professor from any college in Kalamazoo or Timbuktu can nominate anyone for the Nobel Peace Prize. When Naguib Mahfouz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, I know a professor who went around saying Mahfouz got the prize because he had nominated him.

Maybe he did, but that is not why the master Egyptian novelist received the prize - the same prize later given to the notorious Peter Handke, who “suggested that Sarajevo’s Muslims had massacred themselves and blamed the Serbs, and denied the Srebrenica genocide”.  

Kushner is what we in New York call a “slumlord millionaire”, with a degree from Harvard bought and paid for by his parents. The rest of the world might remember Kushner as the bosom buddy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, doing his best to obscure the prince’s role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  

Unbridled racism

We know him primarily as a fanatical Zionist with a singular mission to help Israel steal the rest of Palestine, banking on corrupt Arab leaders - such as those of the UAE, Bahrain or Sudan - to normalise relations with the settler colony. The world also knows Kushner for his pernicious role in putting an end to crucial UN aid for Palestinian refugees in an effort to deny, conceal and end their status as refugees.

What is his claim to fame, for which Dershowitz thinks he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize? It is the fact that he grabbed hold of a few corrupt Arab leaders and used the power of his father-in-law’s office to have them sign a treaty with the apartheid state of Israel.  

Jared Kushner: The colonial mindset behind his so-called 'peace plan'
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That is a singular achievement indeed. Let’s look at his other achievements.  

Kushner is known in the US for his rank charlatanism and unbridled racism. He stares directly into the camera and spits out hateful remarks against African Americans. This is not just according to me, who detests everything Kushner stands for; this is from the New York Times, the chief organ of liberal Zionism in the world.  

This is not the first time Kushner has been nominated for a prize. He was once jokingly nominated for an Emmy Award for the speed of the volcanic eruption of his racism.      

Just before Trump left office in disgrace, Kushner was widely despised in the US for his rank racism, which was so thick that even Mr Prudence himself, former President Barack Obama, let loose a bit of his ex-presidential anger: “Who are these folks? What history books do they read?”

Coronavirus disaster

It is not just Kushner’s racism against Muslims, Palestinians and Black people at issue here. His criminal idiocy has inflicted massive misery and cost hundreds of thousands of lives in the US, after Trump put him in charge of the Covid-19 pandemic. On what authority, what credentials?  

Kushner is no ordinary idiot; he is a self-entitled, bizarrely arrogant, psychotically confident idiot

“How the idiocy of Trump and Jared Kushner let the pandemic loose”: This is Paul Waldman writing for the Washington Post. But idiocy is not the only accurate adjective here. Kushner is no ordinary idiot; he is a self-entitled, bizarrely arrogant, psychotically confident idiot. An ordinary idiot can be a harmless, loveable human being. Prince Myshkin in one of Dostoevsky’s masterpieces, The Idiot, is one of his greatest characters, an utterly beautiful human being. People such as Trump and Kushner are criminally idiotic, causing massive misery for millions of human beings.    

“Report: Jared Kushner an Even Bigger Idiot Than Previously Thought (And Yes, That’s Saying Something)”: This is Bess Levin writing for Vanity Fair, after Kushner bragged to Bob Woodward that his father-in-law was “getting the country back from the doctors”, precisely as the US and the whole world needed to heed scientists and medical professionals.

Dershowitz thinks Kushner should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I actually hope he gets it, for he, Kissinger and Aung San Suu Kyi deserve each other.  

Publicity stunt

But Dershowitz knows what he is doing. His publicity stunt, nominating Kushner for a Nobel Peace Prize, has an entirely different purpose. Propaganda officers such as Dershowitz are actively trying to disengage the fate of their favourite settler colony from the rise and demise of Trump.

They know that except for the lunatic fringe that has now overwhelmed the Republican Party, all self-respecting Americans despise Trump and his family and friends. They want to exonerate Kushner and safeguard his deeds for the settler colony.

But the world knows better: Trump was a source of catastrophe for Americans and a gift to Israel. No self-respecting American could possibly denounce Trump and be indifferent to the criminal record of the Israeli settler colony.

Trump wanted to do to Americans what Israelis have done to Palestinians: deny them their liberties and impose the rule of white supremacy over them.  

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he teaches Comparative Literature, World Cinema, and Postcolonial Theory. His latest books include The Future of Two Illusions: Islam after the West (2022); The Last Muslim Intellectual: The Life and Legacy of Jalal Al-e Ahmad (2021); Reversing the Colonial Gaze: Persian Travelers Abroad (2020), and The Emperor is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation-State (2020). His books and essays have been translated into many languages.
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