Peres, Wiesel Congratulate Obama
Citing hope, intellect, blackness
Well, that was easy. President Obama woke this morning to discover that he’d been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor bestowed only twice before on sitting U.S. presidents. Reaction to his win has been predictably mixed—with some observers saying that simply by altering the rhetoric and protocols of American diplomacy, Obama deserved it. Past recipient and outgoing International Atomic Energy Agency direct-general Mohammed ElBaradei was “delighted” at the news, saying that no one better deserved the Prize. Lech Walesa, the Polish Solidarity leader who won the Nobel in 1983 and was not pleased with Obama’s decision to scrap a proposed missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, was perplexed: “Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast—he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet.” A much circulated Associated Press news analysis this morning reads: “The prize seems to be more for Obama’s promise than for his performance. Work on the president’s ambitious agenda, both at home and abroad, is barely underway, much less finished.” The only concluded item on the agenda, it seems, is convincing the world he’s the anti-Bush.
On the other hand, fellow laureate Elie Wiesel is pleased with the decision to honor someone who is just starting to make change in the world, pointing out that “the mystery of beginnings is part of Jewish mysticism.” He is also one of the few to acknowledge a milestone the Nobel committee left out: “He is the first black person to hold that high office.”
And one unstinting hat tip came from Israeli President Shimon Peres, himself a past winner and now acting as Israel’s best face forward in trying to repair weakened relations with the United States. Peres wrote Obama directly, saying, “Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact. You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a lord in heaven and believers on earth.”
After that characterization, a settlement freeze and de-nuked Iran should be easy, no?
Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize [Washington Post]
World Reaction to a Nobel Surprise [NY Times]
Obama’s Fellow Laureate Wiesel: ‘I Confess Surprise’ [NPR]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.