What a tragedy that someone as intelligent in some areas as British physicist Stephen Hawking, can be so stupid or weak in others.
In what is unfortunately a big win for the forces fighting to destroy the Jewish state, Hawking capitulated to the demands of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement and cancelled his plans to attend a major international conference in Israel in June. He apparently cited “his belief that he should respect a Palestinian call to boycott contacts with Israeli academics,” the Associated Press story notes.
Boycotting academics because one has a quarrel with their government is as ugly and unfair as boycotting athletes for the same reason – it’s bullying; it’s blaming individuals for the policies of their government. It’s wrong. Particularly in a free country where the government is not overseeing the academics or the athletes. Academia, like athletics, is supposed to be above the political fray, but, of course, the refusal of the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes murdered during the Munich games proves otherwise, so, this should not be such a surprise, I guess.
Rumors flew for hours the other day when the story broke in the notoriously anti-Semitic British rag The Guardian.
He was boycotting, then he cancelled for health reasons, then he was boycotting again.
The AP headline read “Stephen Hawking backs boycott of Israeli academics.”
What a fine plan, to boycott one of the world’s most academically productive countries, where things are developed to better mankind all day long, in favor of the folks whose biggest claim to fame is the suicide bomber.
What kind of a moron is this guy, to lend his name to such an effort?
I will never be able to see him in the same light, again. And, hopefully, his stock in the academic world will suffer a fate similar to that of former movie great Mel Gibson, whose star has faded to the point that people think first of his anti-Semitic leanings rather than his latest film, when his name comes up.
My question to Mr. Hawking would be, was he unaware of the Israel/Palestinian conflict when he first agreed to attend this conference? Did this decades-old conflict come as news to him, so that rather than just not attend if he sides with the Islamists over the Jews, he had to hand the anti-Semitic anti-Israel forces a publicity coup? Does he not recognize the repugnant nature of depriving the world of what could be gained by including Israeli academics – arguably among the world’s most accomplished – in favor of an ill-conceived movement that threatens the entire region and the world?
The A.P. story says that “the University of Cambridge released a statement Wednesday indicating that Hawking had told the Israelis last week that he would not be attending ‘based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.’”
University officials said they had “previously understood” that Hawking’s decision was based solely on health concerns, but were later informed otherwise by Hawking’s office.
No one said so, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the good professor had received threats against himself or his loved ones that helped him reach his decision.
In any case, his decision is the wrong one, and the respect I had for the man before this has vanished like the morning fog. I hope I’m not the only one feeling this way, and that Mr. Hawking soon comes to understand the breadth of the wrongness of his decision and his handling of the matter.
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