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May 11, 2001
The Other Sontag

By Ahmed Amr.


"I believe the doctrine of collective responsibility as a rationale for collective punishment is never justified, militarily or ethically. And I mean of course the disproportionate use of fire power against civilians, the demolition of their homes, the destruction of their orchards and groves, the deprivation of their livelihood and access to employment, to schooling, to medical services, or as a punishment for hostile, military activities in the vicinity of those civilians."

Susan Sontag, the author of "In America", in a speech after accepting the Jerusalem prize from Mayor Ehud Olmert on May 9, 2001.

The awarding of the Jerusalem prize is the major event in the Annual International Book Fair in Israel. According to Haaretz, Sontag's comments were "met with a wave of applause from those present. Others however left the hall in protest." I assume the other Sontag, Deborah of the New York Times, was among the walk outs.