The prize committee announced on Friday night that this year’s Julius Streicher Prize for the Promotion of Antisemitism is being awarded to the German GG 5.3 Initiative. Explaining its decision, the committee pointed to historical precedent. The significance of antisemitism in Imperial Germany had all too often been underestimated on the grounds that the success of the self-avowedly antisemitic political organizations prior to the First World War was limited. Insufficient attention had generally been paid to the decisive role academics and cultural workers played in saturating society with a comprehensive range of up-to-date, creative and sophisticated antisemitic sentiments. While the GG 5.3 Initiative was far from the first of its kind, it did illustrate just how many academic and cultural institutions in Germany were now finally willing to take on their responsibility for the promotion of antisemitism in an unreserved and unabashed manner.
The committee was particularly impressed with the ingenuity of Professors Stefani Schüler-Springorum and Miriam Rürüp in taking over institutions enlightenment sentimentalists had all too long assumed were devoted to the struggle against antisemitism. They had made decisive strides towards debunking the myth that research on antisemitism invariably served the struggle against it. Similarly, Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger’s contribution to the promotion of antisemitism at the helm of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, which once counted grumpy Jewish skeptics such as Gershom Scholem among its founding fellows, could hardly be praised enough.
There had been a widespread assumption that the Pears Institute affiliated with Birkbeck, University of London, was in with a good chance this year, given its systematic and sustained campaigning again the IHRA definition of antisemitism and whitewashing of Labour antisemitism. Well informed circles suggested that the Jury had expressed concerns, however, given that the Pears Institute was run by male academics (David Feldman and Brendan McGeever). The previous year’s prize had also gone to an institution headed up by a man. That year, the Henkel Stiftung was honoured for its determined promotion and defence of Mbembe. The Pears Institute therefore has to content itself with the Walter Grundmann Prize.
Recipients of the Julius Streicher Prize for Antisemitism Promotion are given the opportunity to edit the weekly Der Stürmer for a month and win a month-long, all expenses paid stay in a Hezbollah training camp including a day on the popular Said Memorial Trail which offers visitors the opportunity to throw a stone at Israel’s border defences. Recipients of the Walter Grundmann Prize are given the opportunity to edit one issue of Der Stürmer and training in the art of carrying out arson attacks on local synagogues.
The recipients of this year’s prizes were not immediately available for comment.