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November 17, 2017  RSS feed
World News

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Genesis Prize co-founder denies that award to Ruth Bader Ginsburg was ‘consolation prize’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (JTA) – The co-founder of the foundation that awards the Genesis Prize, known as the “Jewish Nobel,” denied a report that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was intended to be the award’s 2018 laureate but instead was given a lifetime achievement award as “a consolation prize.”

Stan Polovets denied the veracity of an article published in Haaretz, which quoted unnamed sources saying that the $1 million award given Nov. 7 to actress Natalie Portman was originally going to the Jewish Supreme Court justice. The foundation then created a new prize, a lifetime achievement award, to give Ginsburg as “a consolation prize,” the article said. The awards were announced a week apart.

The unnamed sources gave Haaretz varying reasons for the alleged change of plans, including that Ginsburg had been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and that the Supreme Court does not allow its justices to accept such monetary awards.

Natalie Portman Natalie Portman Polovets, who also serves as the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and CEO, also denied claims made by Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had been involved in the decision making. The Genesis Prize was established as a partnership between Russian-Jewish philanthropists and the Israeli government.

Polovets said the lifetime award was created to honor worthy individuals who could not accept the prize due to work or time limitations.

“This year when we began discussions with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it turned out that she would not be able to accept the award, we thought it would be very important to honor her,” he said. “We consulted with the first five laureates and came up with idea for the lifetime achievement award, which they unanimously agreed should go to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

The foundation is considering awarding the lifetime award on a yearly basis, Polovets said.

The Genesis Prize was founded in 2012. Along with Portman, the other laureates are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, violinist Itzhak Perlman and sculptor Anish Kapoor.

Portman, who was born in Israel but moved to the United States, was chosen for “her talent, her commitment to social causes and her deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots,” Polovets said.

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