Anorak News | The Guardian Wipes Israel Off Nobel Prize Map, Finds It Again

The Guardian Wipes Israel Off Nobel Prize Map, Finds It Again

by | 26th, October 2009

guardianSIMON Rogers, a news editor for the Guardian, has produced a list of Nobel Prize winners. This is a relatively easy thing to do, and such things can be copied and pasted. But Rogers’ list is one with a twist – it features no Israeli Peace Prize winners.

Nobel peace prize winners list: how does Barack Obama compare? – There have been over 100 Nobel peace prize winners since 1901. Find out who they are.

Or, er, not. The Jews, sorry, Israelis, have gone.

Carol Gould sees a trend:

Unless you live on Mars you will be aware that it is obviously not in the Guardian’s house style to laud the achievements of tiny, oil-impoverished Israel.

So, presto! In October 2009 Simon Rogers of the Guardian finally eradicated Israel. How did he do this?

The day after Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Guardian decided to publish a chart showing the nations and people who had won the prize in the past century. To the utter disbelief of those who saw it, the list omitted the Israeli names. There was Yasser Arafat in 1994, clearly listed as a winner from a country that does not actually exist, “Palestine,” but there was no Shimon Peres or Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. There was Anwar Sadat of Egypt, but no Menachem Begin of Israel.

Rogers seems to have collected the list from And you can read all names there. Maybe it’s alphabetical?

The letter suggested that this was “perhaps so for the 1994 entry of Arafat, alphabetically preceding Peres and Rabin. Yet logic would dictate that, for the 1978 entry, Begin would have eclipsed Sadat, not the contrary.”

Anyone who read this gem from Richard Ingram – and who agreed with it – may find it easy to ignore Gould:

I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.

But – get this – it’s a all terrific mix up. Really:

We published a list of everyone who has ever won the Nobel peace prize, based on the’s list and invited Guardian users to send us their visualisations (graphic representations of the information) and mash ups (combinations of this and other data). The Nobel prize website lists only the year and winner(s) but we decided to include more detailed information across seven columns. We showed joint winners separately and added the sex and country of each individual to make it easier for users to consider different ways of looking at the data. Unfortunately, when the creator (working as both author and editor) of the blogpost reorganised the information (copying it into a word file first, then pasting it into an excel file) and added the extra details about the recipients the names of some joint winners were accidentally deleted, although their countries were included. He spotted two missing names John Raleigh Mott (1946, joint winner with Emily Greene Balch) and the League of Red Cross Societies (1963 joint winner with International Committee of the Red Cross) a few minutes after the blogpost was launched. He also added “The Quakers” as a joint winner in 1947 (this was later changed to “Amer. Friends Service Cittee (Quakers)”).

Phew! Lucky he spotted those household names.

Unhappily, other missing names were not added for more than four hours because another glitch – a Java error – meant that user comments could not be seen by either Firefox or Safari users and the blogpost author was involved in trying to fix this. Some time after 4pm this was done and he saw that people who had posted comments were pointing out that the names of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin (1994, joint winners with Yasser Arafat) and Menachem Begin (1978, joint winner with Anwar al-Sadat) were also missing – he added these shortly afterwards.

So all the Israelis were gone. What are the odds?

Kofi Annan was joint winner with the United Nations in 2001 and in error we listed his country as the USA, rather than Ghana. Our list also said that Bertha von Suttner (1905) was from Switzerland, but she was actually from Austria-Hungary. Both of these country name errors were also corrected on 9 October. A further correction was made on 12 October to reflect the fact that José Ramos-Horta (1996, joint winner with Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo) is from East Timor as our list had omitted to include a country name for him.

Comment is free in the Guardian. Bias is left up to you…



Image: Harry

Posted: 26th, October 2009 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink