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Nobel Foundation rejects Peace Prize criticism

AFP/The Local · 8 Mar 2012, 14:04

Published: 08 Mar 2012 14:04 GMT+01:00

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"Despite that many lively discussions have been held on whether the chosen Peace Prize laureates fulfilled the prescribed provisions, the Foundation does not consider that the prize decisions made by the Norwegian Nobel Committee have entailed any such deviation," it said in a statement.

Swedish authorities had asked the foundation to look into claims from Fredrik Heffermehl, a lawyer and author of the book "The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted," that the Norwegian Nobel Committee had gone far astray from the wishes expressed in prize creator Alfred Nobel's 1895 last will and testament.

Heffermehl claims that the five-member prize committee had deviated from Nobel's wishes by honouring human rights activists, such as Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010, environmentalists such as Al Gore and the IPCC in 2007, and humanitarian workers like Mother Teresa in 1979.

The pick of US President Barack Obama for the 2009 prize, after he had spent just a few months in office, also met widespread criticism.

Heffermehl was outraged by the opinion expressed by the Nobel Foundation and supported by the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thursday.

"The Nobel Committee confirms again ... that it has made this into its own prize (with) its own content inserted into the arbitrarily self-chosen term 'peace' and again shows no interest in Nobel and what he wanted with the prize," he said in a statement.

In his will, Nobel stipulated that the Peace Prize should go to the person or organisation that has "done the most or the best work for fraternity

between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the

holding and promotion of peace congresses."

"The Norwegian prize committee appears to still think it is their task to

hand out a prize for 'peace' in general despite the fact that Nobel, according

to his will, created a prize for 'champions of peace'," Heffermehl said.

The Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation meanwhile stressed that Nobel had wanted the different prize committees to be independent in their decisions, and pointed out that in all the prize categories there was room for interpretation and debate about which areas should be included.

Story continues below…

It will in the end officially be up to the Stockholm county administration (Länsstyrelsen) to determine if the Norwegian Nobel Committee has followed the rules or not, but it has already rejected a similar complaint filed by Heffermehl in 2008, and is likely to fall in line with the Nobel Foundation's opinion.

"If the Stockholm county administration rejects Heffermehl's arguments again, I hope this case will be closed for good," said the head of the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Geir Lundestad.

"We are optimistic because we have not done anything wrong. Quite the

contrary," he told AFP.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:51 March 8, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The Norwegian Nobel committee is guilty of watering down the significance of the peace prize by handing it out to people like Obama who had done identically nothing before he received it (and many will say he has done nothing to promote peace since). How can these imbeciles look in the mirror and honestly say they did the right thing?

And tellingly, the co-recipient with Al Gore (for climate change) pointed out during his own acceptance speech in Norway that it is a travesty that Mahatma Ghandi never received a peace prize for all the blodshed he prevented.

Bravo to Heffermehl for trying to smarten them up. Sounds like the old boys club will ignore him, and continue to treat the prize like a sort of popularity contest, which is unfortunate with regard to the memory the more deserving recipients.
15:13 March 8, 2012 by acidcritic
The Nobel Foundation is commiting too many errors. They awarded the peace price to Henry Kissinger, one of the most tenebrous or gloomy personages of the history. As an adviser of Johson, it was Kissinger who began Vietnam war. After 4 years of continuos downfalls, and after 3 million vietnameze and more than 150.000 of americans dead, Kissinger entered in panic and stoped the war. The Nobel Prize Comitee forgot the first part of the history and awarded the "peace" prize to Kissinger. There are many indications that with Obama they are going to repeat the acto. The Nobel Comitee in literature is also doing lots of mistakes. Why 6 million readers- the 6 million swedes-, can decide what is good for the other 6 billion of people who live on Earth?
15:16 March 8, 2012 by karex
I agree. They have done nothing but devalue the prize - if anyone can get it these days, who cares about a dumb prize then?
15:17 March 8, 2012 by apelsin000
Nobel pisssss prize, LoL, cool!
16:07 March 8, 2012 by Atlas
Nobel Peace Prize...The best joke to come from Norway.
19:13 March 8, 2012 by johan rebel
The simple truth is that Heffermehl is outraged that the Nobel Peace Prize has not been awarded to his personal hero Mordechai Vanunu. This vindictive fanatic is trying to get even with the Norwegian Committee in every which way he can, to the point where he has made it his full-time career. The poor man is consumed by hatred, I wonder if he ever sleeps at night without having Nobel Committee nightmares.
19:32 March 8, 2012 by OUIJA
Nobody is trying to get even with nobody. The Nobel Peace Prize is a disgrace to the memory of Alfred Nobel.

If you believe that recipients like Kissinger, Arafat, Obama,the infamous Al Gore,Menchú and Wangari deserved the award, you have never read the testament of Alfred Nobel. The Norwegian Nobel Committee converted the prize into a mockery.

If possible, the granting of the prize should be given back to Sweden, but, if they would handled it in the same pathetic way the handle the Literature Prize, it woudl be better to stop giving the Prize and to invent something else, like they invented the "Economic Prize in the Memory of Alfred Nobel", just to ride on the back of the big horse.
21:03 March 8, 2012 by Rebel
So how's that prize to Obama working out for world peace?
21:43 March 8, 2012 by OUIJA
Perfect. After Iran, he will be nominated again. It would not be the first and the last time someone wins that spurious prize twice.
21:45 March 8, 2012 by Iraniboy

It is working very well. He is busy these days speculating on how to attack Iran!!!

Peace price to Obama, Arafat and Peres in particular who all have a track record of talking about importance of killing and war is just a joke! I hereby announce the next nominee Mr Khomenei.
00:45 March 9, 2012 by threadbare
Anyone familiar with the life and times of Alfred Nobel and with his will as written, would find it difficult to agree with the selection of most laureates during recent decades. Regrettably what has become an industry, from all appearances, has likewise become so politically motivated. It is truly fortunate that the "scientific" awards have thus far avoided these pitfalls.
01:35 March 9, 2012 by blursd
In about the last thirty years the Nobel Peace Prize has descended from a legitimate recognition of efforts towards promoting actual world peace to a political statement tool out of Oslo.

Among the more obviously questionable recipients are Henry Kissinger - who was responsible influencing the large scale use of force on numerous occasions, Yassar Arafat - who spent the better part of three decades coordinating terror attacks across Europe and the Middle East, Al Gore - for filming a pseudo documentary on Global Warming to amounted to little more than a self panegyric and incredibly flawed logic, AND ... Barack Obama - for doing ... well, nothing.

And that's just the short list ... You have so many people in the world HAVE MADE incredible contributions to promoting peace and understanding who aren't even considered, because it wouldn't make enough of what the Norwegian Committee would consider a "statement." The Peace Prize wasn't created to make a "statement" but to recognize meaningful progress towards ACTUAL PEACE.
13:13 March 9, 2012 by Borilla
Apparently Heffermehl (and perhaps most of those commenting on this page) is just upset that he doesn't get to pick the recipient. There do seem to be some religious, geographic and color prejudices showing here.
15:24 March 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Borilla

Often TL blogs are so racist that they read like KKK manifestos, but there is little or nothing racist in the comments written here up to now.

Recipients that are white (Gore and his private jet), Arab (Arafat), Jewish (Kissinger and Perez), Black (Obama) are all being criticized here, not because of their race, but because they do not deserve the prize. And more specifically it is the Nobel committee that is being criticized.

If you are going to play the 'race' card, do that when it is justified by the comments that are being made. The issue here is the lamentable selection record of Peace Prize winners in recent years.

It would not matter if Herremehl is angry that his favortie choices have been ignored if the Norwegain Nobel committee had made equivalent or more suitable choices. The problem is that the Nobel Committee's choices have not made sense in many cases.
16:44 March 9, 2012 by Britt-Marie7
What a horrible decision to for example elect Obama who at that time had done nothing to promote piece or otherwise. Maybe just his good looks???

I don't think that they know what they are doing, they are getting away from Nobel's wishes completely.
10:03 March 10, 2012 by OUIJA
´@ Reason and Realism # 15

I would like to had written what you wrote. It seems that it does not matter the subject, a great majority of posters have the word "racism" in their minds.

@Britt-Marie # 16

You need eyeglasses, but that is your problem. On the other hand, you are wrong when stating that they do not know what they are doing. Yes they do. They have converted the Nobel's wishes into a political item, that serves the Norwegians agenda quite well.
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