Novelist Ian McEwan displayed crass ignorance of the Arab-Jewish conflict when recently accepting the US$10000 Jerusalem Prize - awarded to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the ''freedom of the individual in society.''
The Prize was awarded to McEwan by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat at a ceremony attended by Israel's President Shimon Peres and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.
Mc Ewan was self-deprecating as he told the audience that he had resisted calls to boycott the ceremony understanding that in doing so he couldn't escape the politics of his decision.
Those present may have felt heartened when he stated:
" Some of the previous recipients of this prize have spoken their thoughts in a gathering like this and have upset people. But everybody knows this simple fact: once you've instituted a prize for philosophers and creative writers, you have embraced freedom of thought and open discourse, and I take the continued existence of the Jerusalem prize as a tribute to the precious tradition of a democracy of ideas in Israel."
McEwan then took the opportunity to express his thoughts and upset people - basing them on a series of factual inaccuracies that have become mainstream thinking among many intellectuals. His public embrace of these inaccuracies rendered his thoughts of no real credibility or value.
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