Jewish author wins free speech prize

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Norwegian free speech organization Fritt Ord has awarded its 2014 Freedom of Expression Prize to author Anne Sender. She was recognized for her work championing the history of Norway’s Jewish minority and speaking out against anti-Semitism.

Free speech and public debate non-profit foundation Fritt Ord awarded the 2014 Freedom of Expression Prize to Jewish author Anne Sender. She was recognized for her work raising the profile of Norway's Jewish minority, and campaigning against anti-Semitism. PHOTO: Fredrik Arf/Fritt Ord

Free speech and public debate non-profit foundation Fritt Ord awarded the 2014 Freedom of Expression Prize to Jewish author Anne Sender. She was recognized for her work raising the profile of Norway’s Jewish minority, and campaigning against anti-Semitism. PHOTO: Fredrik Arf/Fritt Ord

“As a Jew, she has independently and courageously turned a critical spotlight on policies pursued by Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the area of conflict, based not least on her personal observations of living conditions on the West Bank,” said the Fritt Ord Foundation Board in awarding Sender its most prestigious prize.

In a press release, the institution said Sender had become an important participant in the debate on issues surrounding anti-Semitism and the Middle East conflict. She published a book last year called Our Jewish Journey, describing “her change of attitude in connection with Israeli policies in several areas,” wrote Fritt Ord. “In this context, she emphasizes the need “to see with both eyes.” She has responded to vehement attacks by insisting on dialogue and encouraging a quest for justice.”

Sender’s career spans a broad range of areas. She has represented the Mosaic Religious Community in talks with other religious groups in Norway, managed operations at the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, been a special humanitarian advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and been involved with various freedom of religion organizations and action committees.

The prize includes a trophy and NOK 400,000 (USD 66,900). Sender will receive the award at a ceremony in Oslo next month.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate