Next week writer Ian McEwan is to receive the Jerusalem Prize,
Israel's top literature award for foreign writers at the International Book Fair in the city.
The biennial award, along with $10,000, is given to writers whose work according to the Israelis "best expresses and promotes the idea of freedom of the individual in society" in an environment of "political and social turmoil."
In response to the criticism from groups such as British Writers in Support of Palestine (BWISP) that his acceptance flouts the cultural boycott of Israel, McEwan said his decision is based on the belief that art can have a "longer reach" than politics.
In further self-justification, he pointed to previous recipients of the prize as including luminaries like Bertrand Russell and Simone de Beauvoir.
It's hard to conceive that either of these two would accept the Jerusalem Prize today, particularly de Beauvoir - a militant opponent of French colonial crimes in Algeria."