PARIS (Nov. 8)
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who 12 years ago turned down the Nobel Prize for Literature, yesterday accepted an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Sartre, who is the founder of existentialism, explained “This is a political acceptance of the situation of a country whose progress I have always followed. I have been a friend of Israel since its creation and even before.”
Sartre, who has always in the past turned down all honorary awards, said in his short acceptance speech: “I hope Israel will develop in freedom and peace. It is in a difficult situation and has endured several painful wars. It risks being plunged into misery again in the future.”
The French philosopher who is world known for his leftist campaigns, added a warning note: “Peace can be achieved in only one way–by a dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians I think forces for peace exist in both camps. Such a dialogue will eventually take place, either today or tomorrow, because events are hastening towards such an event.”
ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT PALESTINIANS
Sartre, who looked sick and spoke in a weak and quavering voice, added he was just as concerned for the Palestinians “who have suffered a lot” as for the Israelis. He repeated several times: “A solution to the Middle East tragedy depends on links between the two peoples.”
In taking the scroll from the hands of the Hebrew University President Abraham Harman, Sartre said: “I accept this gift here today as an element in helping to achieve peace sometime.”
Israeli Ambassador to France, Mordechai Gazit, said Israel agrees with Sartre’s aims. The only existing differences are on the methods to be used. It is believed Gazit hinted at the fact that while Israel had always been prepared to talk with the Palestinians it has refused to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization. The 71-year-old philosopher is believed to support a dialogue with the PLO.
Sartre was accompanied to the ceremony by his companion-writer Simone de Beauvoir and French Minister of Culture Francoise Giroud, who said “We are all here today because what matters is that Israel should live and live in peace and justice.” Mrs. Giroud attended the ceremony both an old friend of Sartre and as the personal representative of President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. Members of the group of friends of the Hebrew University came from Israel and from all over Western Europe to attend the ceremony.