Ralph Nader, left, and Omar Barghouti. (Don LaVange and intal / CC 2.0)

Promoting Enduring Peace, founded in 1952 with the goal of promoting world peace and environmental sustainability, announced the recipients of next year’s Gandhi Peace Award on Friday. It will be presented jointly to consumer activist Ralph Nader and to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender.

The award, given since 1960, “comes with a cash prize and a medallion made of ‘peace bronze,’ metal fashioned from recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems,” according to the organization’s news release.

The recipients, who will receive the award in April 2017, both have long legacies of peaceful activism. Nader “has been one of America’s most effective social critics for over 50 years,” the release says. It continues:

Since 1966, Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws such as the motor vehicle safety laws, Safe Drinking Water Act; the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; the recall of millions of defective motor vehicles; access to government through the Freedom of Information Act of 1974; and for many lives saved.

At the organization’s news conference, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges praised Nader “for challenging, long before it was fashionable, the rise of neoliberalism and corporate capitalism. He is one of the great Americans.”

Barghouti is a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. According to Promoting Enduring Peace:

He is considered a “permanent resident” by Israel and does not have citizenship rights. In March of 2016 he was physically threatened by a high Israeli government official and in May was denied renewal of his travel document effectively banning him from leaving the country. Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”

In fact, Barghouti’s situation is the reason the award has been announced so far in advance, “due to the need for a campaign to pressure the Israeli government to allow Barghouti to travel to the United States.”

Read more about the award and its recipients here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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