GENEVA, October 6, 2020 — United Nations Watch, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights organization, announced today that journalist Bari Weiss will receive its Per Ahlmark Award, in recognition of her moral courage and eloquence in defending the principles of democracy and in combating antisemitism.

UN Watch’s prize will be presented at the watchdog group’s 2020 Online Gala on November 1st.

“During a time when critical thinking, reasoned arguments and resistance to mob mentality are considered fatal to one’s career, Bari Weiss dares to confront those on either side of the political aisle who betray the liberal ideals of freedom and independent inquiry,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“And during a time when Jews in the United States were targeted more than ever before by deadly attacks, from her own family’s Pittsburgh synagogue to a New Jersey Kosher grocery, Bari Weiss has become a leading voice for a new generation in decoding today’s varied manifestations of the world’s oldest hatred, and she inspires so many with her determination to fight it.”

“I am honored to be chosen for this award,” said Bari Weiss. “UN Watch is a leading human rights organization that provides global platforms for dissidents targeted by repressive regimes, shining an international spotlight on horrific abuses that require the world’s attention.”

“When I feel wobbly and need an example of moral courage, I watch my friend Hillel Neuer sitting in a room of despots and speaking up in favor of the downtrodden. A few minutes and his powerful example inevitably stiffens my own spine.”

“Telling the truth is hard, and increasingly so in our present age. But UN Watch lights the way. You show the rest of us the power of living in truth.

Recipients of previous UN Watch awards include Nobel Peace Prize laureate David Trimble, former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and philosopher Alain Finkielkraut.

About Bari Weiss

Bari Weiss made international headlines when she resigned in July 2020 from her position as an opinion editor at The New York Times, accusing the newspaper of an ideological dogmatism hostile to intellectual curiosity, and of bullying by colleagues for her dissenting views — and for “writing about the Jews again.”

Author of the award-winning 2019 book “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” Weiss was previously an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal and a senior editor at Tablet Magazine.

She is the winner of the Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize, which honors writing that “best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit, and eloquence.”

In 2019, Vanity Fair called Weiss the Times’s “star opinion writer,” and The Jerusalem Post named her the seventh most influential Jew in the world.

About UN Watch

UN Watch is a non-governmental organization that monitors the United Nations by the yardstick of its own charter, advocates for human rights dissidents, and combats antisemitism and anti-Israeli prejudice at the UN.

UN Watch was founded in 1993 by civil rights leader Morris B. Abram, drafter of the UN’s anti-racism convention, following his term as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

Since 2009, UN Watch has chaired the coalition of 25 NGOs that organizes the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Accredited as a non-governmental observer, UN Watch is a key participant in the debates of the UN Human Rights Council. UN Watch’s truth-telling message appears worldwide in more than 600 newspaper articles and media broadcasts per year. For more, visit unwatch.org.

Per Ahlmark, 1939-2018

Per Ahlmark
Per Ahlmark

UN Watch’s inaugural Per Ahlmark Award is named after the former deputy prime minister of Sweden, public intellectual, writer and defender of democracy who served for two decades as the European Co-Chair of UN Watch. He passed away in 2018.

“Per Ahlmark was a moral giant,” said Neuer, “and he would have been privileged to have his name associated with Bari Weiss and her work. In her writing, the noble causes she champions, and the courage she exercises to defend them, Bari has much in common with Per.”

For more about the life and legacy of Per Ahlmark, see UN Watch’s tribute, “Sweden’s Prophet.”

Swedish Friends of Per Ahlmark Welcome the Award

“As a friend of Per Ahlmark, I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of the award in his name than Bari Weiss. Per was a classical liberal who dedicated his life to the fight against antisemitism wherever it occurred—be it on the extreme left, extreme right, and among Islamists,” said Paulina Neuding, a columnist with Svenska Dagbladets.

“Bari Weiss has taken on the same cause with great courage and integrity. She has also bravely chosen to defend freedom of expression and journalistic ethics when the New York Times betrayed its own standards.”

“‘Don’t do any nonsense while I’m dead,’ Per warned in one of his most famous lines, which was also the title of his last book. Few other public figures have done more than Bari Weiss to fight the nonsense of our time in the spirit of Per Ahlmark,” said the Stockholm-based journalist.

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