'Sapians' author Yuval Noah Harrari refuses offer by LA Consulate to host a reception in his honor due to Israel's erosion of liberal norms.
Tzvi Lev, JTA, 30/07/18 10:32
Israeli author and bestselling historian Professor Yuval Noah Harari refused to be honored by Israel's Los Angeles-based consulate over what he alleged is an erosion in Israel's basic liberal norms, Yediot Ahronot reported.
Harari teaches at Jerusalem's Hebrew University and is the author of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,". The non-fiction book charts the course of the development of human beings from prehistoric man to present man and has sold 8 million copies worldwide in 30 different languages since its publication in 2011.
In September, Harari is slated to host the TED-like format Live Talks Los Angeles event and will be interviewed by Bill Gates. The consulate had contacted the organizers of the event and asked to arrange a reception for Harari before the event, but Harari rejected the offer.
According to Harari, he could not collaborate with the Israeli consulate because it is "the long arm of the Israeli government's policy, which limits the freedom of communication, expression, creativity and thought."
In reply to the consulate's spokeswoman, Karin Eliahu-Perry, Harari's personal manager replied that "although Prof. Harari is proud of his Israeliness, we are not interested in cooperating with the consulate."
Despite the Foreign Ministry's efforts to convince the academic that it represented all Israelis and is apolitical, Harari's manager replied that "Nevertheless, we prefer not to represent the government as long as it persists in this policy."