On Sunday, May 1st, at Center Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut, the Gandhi Peace Award was presented to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, General Secretary of Rabbis for Human Rights, and Rabbi Ehud Bandel, a co-founder of the organization. Ascherman and Bandel exemplify the struggle for nonviolent ways of resolving the persecution of Palestinians in Israel.
It is an additional recognition of RHR’s role in promoting and encouraging nonviolent activities to achieve human rights for Palestinians in Israel and in the territories. (In 2006, RHR received the Niwano, a Japanese peace award).
Rabbis Acherman and Bandel are central figures in Rabbis for Human Rights, the only organization that brings forward the human rights voice in the Jewish tradition. Rabbis for Human Rights was founded in 1988 and more then 100 rabbis and rabbinical students from all of the denominations are members of the organization. Among other social issues, Rabbis for Human Rights deals with the Palestinian’s human rights in Israel and in the territories.
The Gandhi Peace Award has been presented since 1960 for contributions made in the promotion of international peace and good will to peace heroes such as Eleanor Roosevelt, William Sloane Coffin, Benjamin Spock, Daniel Ellsberg, Dorothy Day, and César Chávez, all of whom accepted the award in person after presenting a message of challenge and hope.