Davis called the decision “regrettable” and “not primarily an attack against me but rather against the spirit of the indivisibility of justice.”
In a statement over the weekend announcing the change, the institute did not specify its reasons for yanking the honor. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement that the complaints came from the Jewish community.
Davis in a statement published Monday on the Mondoweiss website said the institute refused her requests “to reveal the substantive reasons” for withdrawing the award, but she later learned that “my long-term support of justice for Palestine was at issue.”
The statement acknowledged that she has been critical of Israel.
“I have indeed expressed opposition to policies and practices of the state of Israel, as I express similar opposition to U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to other discriminatory U.S. policies,” she said.
Davis noted in college at Brandeis University in the late 1950s and early ’60s, “I learned to be as passionate about opposition to antisemitism as to racism. It was during this period that I was also introduced to the Palestinian cause.”