Viewpoint: Stephen Hawking’s Israel Boycott Is Lost in Space

It's hard to believe he endorses a theory that if he can make some academic conferences a tad less prestigious, peace will bloom

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Stephen Hawking

Israel has become the world’s premier nondestination for the smugly self-righteous. Since 2006, there has been a movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions organized by a coalition of Palestinian groups, to which people like Bono and Stevie Wonder have lent support. The latest to join this list is renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, who recently announced that he had refused an invitation to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference in late June “based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.” In a statement, Hawking added: “Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

Hawking has written about multiple-universe theory, and it is possible that in some alternate world his action makes sense. But in this world it is a new example of an enduring, egregious hypocrisy. When the odd musician or writer ostracizes Israel, it is contemptible enough. But someone of Hawking’s stature and intellect should know that boycotts are antithetical to the ideal of open inquiry that animates the scientific enterprise.

(MORE: Strikes on Syria Signal an Emboldened Israel)

Not that there aren’t times when ethics override the free exchange of ideas. Or perhaps Hawking just doesn’t believe in talking to people with whom he disagrees. Where then is his condemnatory statement about the treatment of the Maya people in Guatemala, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Kashmiris in India, the Kurds in Turkey, the Baha’i of Iran, the Shi‘ites of Pakistan, the Chechens in Russia or perhaps about the Tibetans in China, where Hawking recently paid a celebrated visit? Rather than actually confront the difficulties of the region, he is deploying his considerable prestige to say that one country, among all the nations of the world, is uniquely deserving of obloquy.

Then there is the question of what, exactly, standing up the Israeli Presidential Congress is going to achieve. As Hawking must know, he is boycotting precisely those most likely to agree with his political stance, the left-wing academic community in Israel. It’s hard to believe he endorses a theory that if he can make some academic conferences a tad less prestigious, peace will bloom.

If Hawking and his confederates believe in the efficacy of boycotts, as Jeffrey Goldberg has pointed out, the next logical step is to boycott supporters of Israel, including many Jewish-owned businesses, research facilities and institutions. It would even be ideologically consistent to boycott synagogues. Historical echoes, anyone?

(MORE: Why Predictions Fail but Prophecies Don’t)

I do not for a moment believe Hawking is anti-Semitic. Indeed, he visited Israel before, in 2006, when the situation was not significantly different. Still, when you step into a conflict-ridden world, look around and decide that the one place that is unworthy of your presence is the single Jewish state, your actions have an anti-Semitic cast no matter the purity of your intentions.

Israel will survive the slight, but every collapse of moral resolve takes a toll. You can object to the policies of the Israeli government and protest them and rail against them and seek to change them: many do, both in the U.S. and Israel. When only Israel is blackballed, however, when condemnations from the U.N. vastly outnumber those of all other nations combined, there is more going on than careful moral calculation. Hawking, perhaps unwittingly, has cast his lot with darkness, and not the kind you can spot with a telescope.

137 comments
stephengreen736
stephengreen736

While Hawking has opinions and the right to express them, he is not immune to criticism.  And lets face it, he can be wrong, and modern Israel probably isn't the place for him..  

2aya22
2aya22

"the next logical step is to boycott supporters of Israel, including many Jewish-owned businesses, research facilities and institutions. It would even be ideologically consistent to boycott synagogue." This is argument is invalid and deceptive. Lets pretend Hawking is boycotting America. Its like saying, "the next logical step is to boycott supporters of America, including many Christian-owned businesses, research facilities and institutions. It would be ideologically consistent to boycott Church.

sjsamuel71
sjsamuel71

Nice try Rabbi Wolpe, but you surely realise (it's one of the reasons for your article) that Hawking's actions are not that lost in space, although one could argue that Hawking himself is not that political a person. Fact remains that many of us around the world (i'm from India) have an unexplained fondness for the Jewish people and Israel but just cannot stomach the Israel-induced sufferings of the Palestinians. Maybe you cannot admit to seeing it (just as the U.S. foreign policy chooses not to), but surely you cannot argue that the entire world (the UN resolutions that you mentioned) willfully acts with malice towards Israel. Many of us have been aware about the issue and the facts on the ground ever since we began our newspaper-reading habits -- and that was a long time ago. And sooner or later, Israel will be forced to listen to the moral voice of the world and arrive at a just settlement with the Palestinians. In that sense, Hawking's action deserves respect. Oh, and by the way, those wise sages, Desmond Tutu and Mandela, termed the Israeli siege apartheid. Even if i did not know a penny's worth of the Middle East problem, i would still be inclined to believe their words. And i'm sure a lot of others feel the same way.

Achille
Achille

Pathetic journalism that publishes an article accusing a person, without legitimate reason, of Antisemitism.  Dr. Hawking objects to some actions of the Israeli government; he doesn't object to ALL cultural/ethnic Jews. 


volman48
volman48

@LiborSupcik so, then the fact that United stated of America was base on 'inhabit others' land that criminalising USA as a legitimate state? Or jews, that in fact built jerusalem and where invaded hundreds of times by foreigners of all sorts and yet managed to give the world the first 'democrat' in the face of Jesus who was a member of Jewish society (that you just questioned here and call them as people on a mission to inhabit others') ...You should visit Israel and learn the history based on archaeological fact you will witness there. Than you will dare not speak of Jews as the occupiers of land of 'others'. Jesus was a devoted jew who visited the temple many times...who built the temple? 

Was there ever a Palestinian state or even a nation called palestinian? talk to Jourdan king...he will tell you what hist grandpa did  palestinians ...learn a thing or two ...Jourand is the birthplace of Palestinians...HALf  OF iSRAEL IS for arabs. They are israeli citizens ...any one jew living in gaza or west bank? Any jews in Egypt? Iraq?  Siria?   You are fool of hot air

LiborSupcik
LiborSupcik

Boycot or dialogue? Both are ways of communication; this time he rightfully chose the more efficient one.  What dialogue can one have with a system that supports people who believe they have a mission to inhabit others' land? 

GordLindsay
GordLindsay

I, somewhat regretfully, ascribe Professor Hawking's willfully blind support of anti-Israel partisans to his physical condition. As well as he has done under severely trying circumstances, I have to assume that, deep down, there is probably a well of anger and resentment against the G-d Who made him the way he is. Since Israel is the nation and place most associated with G-d, I believe Dr. Hawking has displaced his anger

DeanJackson
DeanJackson

Dean Michael Jackson is boycotting Stephen Hawking, and here's why:

The Physics Community gives the constant 0 (zero) to Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE). The Physics community says that the constant is an arbitrary value (any value will do, they say), yet:

(1) this value of zero for GPE is necessarily 1, since the POTENTIAL of anything at its maximum is always 100%; and. 

(2) a GPE of zero is necessary for Stephen Hawking and others who use that value in order to prove that our universe popped up from nothing: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist." -- http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/02/us-britain-hawking-idUSTRE6811FN20100902.

For example, if the universe consisted of only the Earth and the Moon, and the Moon is catapulted so far away from the Earth that its gravitational energy no longer affects the Earth, the gravitational energy doesn't disappear. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy, the gravitational energy becomes POTENTIAL energy (GPE). This GPE Stephen Hawking (and the Physics community) assigns the constant zero to. Now, when we return the Moon back to Earth's orbit, GPE is said to be -1, according to the Physics community. 

Here's the math for Stephen Hawking and the Physics community and my correction:

Earth's mass [1] + Moon's GPE when back in Earth's orbit [-1] = 0, so universes are for free, 

however if we use correct constants for what we are describing, the equation reads like this: 

Earth's mass [1] + Moon's GPE when back in Earth's orbit [0] = 1, so universes are not for free.

Let's further examine the above:

When the Moon's GPE ceases when back in Earth's orbit, that is when ACTUAL Gravitational Kinetic Energy (GKE) begins, which would have a constant of 1. Now GKE is simply the CONVERSE of GPE, so now let's move the Moon away from the Earth again. KGE declines as the Moon moves further away from the Earth (.9,.8,.7,.6 and so on), and conversely GPE increases (.1,.2,.3,.4,.5 and so on until the Moon has reached infinity distance from the Earth, in which case, logically, GPE would be 1, not 0). 

GKE and GPE are the same phenomena, just separated by space, not unlike the duel sides of a coin. This converse relationship between GKE and GPE is also the discovery of what I call the Gravitational Converse Principle.

Stephen Hawking's (and the Physics Community) assignment of the constant zero to GPE is inexplicable.

Clarification:

1. If GPE is 0 (zero) at infinity, then there can be no GKE; and.

2. ask yourself how could Stephen Hawking and the Physics Community not know what "potential" means by assigning zero to something (in this particular case, Gravitation POTENTIAL Energy) that is 100% potential? Obviously, if something is 100%, the constant one would use to quantify it is 1, and such a constant wouldn't be an arbitrary assignment (as the Physics Community says the assignment of the constant zero to GPE is, it could be any number, they say), it would be a NECESSARY assignment. 

As for his boycott stance, Stephen Hawking's politics are just as informed as his science! It was the Arab League, at their first summit meeting in Cairo, Egypt (1964), that created the Palestine Liberation Organization. Before 1963 Arabs living in Jordanian-controlled West Bank and Egyptian-controlled Gaza called themselves Arabs; the term "Palestinian" would have been eschewed then because it was associated with the Jewish Homeland of Palestine (Arabs living in Palestine circa 1920 called themselves Syrian, wanting to merge Palestine into Syria.*).

So what was the Earth-shaking event that prompted all Arab governments to promptly meet in Cairo in January 1964, you ask? Israel was rumored to either have tested or acquired its first atomic bomb in 1963.** Needless to say, Arab governments had to hastily assemble to inaugurate a new strategy towards Israel, since any coordinated military move to destroy Israel wouldn't work anymore.

This brings us to the Six-Day War, which was planned (with the cooperation of the USSR) to be lost by Arab governments, so as to operationalize the Arab governments' proxy strategy, using the newly-minted "Palestinians".

Note that Arab governments never did create an “Arab” state for West Bank/Gaza inhabitants between 1948 - 1963, nor a “Palestinian” state (when “Arabs” was changed to “Palestinians”) between 1964 - May 1967.

The next phase of the Arab governments' "new" Long-Range Strategy will be to have Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza renounce their claim for an independent state and opt to become Israeli citizens instead, which is what they are according to the Palestine Mandate of 1922.*** When one throws in Arabs living in the refugee camps, the Jewish inhabitants of Israel will be electorally out-voted, leading to the reincorporation of the territory that is now Israel back into the Arab fold.

eduardoduek
eduardoduek

I wonder what would Mr Hawkings do if the palestinians/Iran instead of threatening to destroy the State of Israel, turnaround and declare that now, they would like to destroy England insteaad? Believe me, give their logic --or its lack thereof -- is within the possible. Can anyone reading this imagine what would we do, here in the US, if a country threaten us with complete destruction? Would we fire a missile or two in reply to a daily barrage of iranian made missiles? No self respected country can stand on the sidelines after threats of destruction --well documented of course -- and daily aggression.  Mr Hawkings probably befriends a handful of palestinian physicists, but his action spits in the face of the many many many physicists, many Nobel prize winners, of jewish belief and some, up to now, friends of his, some of who have already decided not to participate in seminars and conferences in England for the the position adopted on this issue but local academicians. Mr Hawkings, this ill-decision you are taking is yet another brick in the wall of isolation which your predecessors in England fought --maybe more than in any other country -- to erradicate. And now your are building it. Shame on you, and your very short sighted decision. 

Dr. Eduardo Duek

Physicist

jake321
jake321

Even the Far Left students at UC Berkeley have seen the light about the vial intentions of the BDS movement. While the Student Senate there recently passed a resolution by a very close vote to recommend the divestment from a few companies they assert were helping the Israeli military, they made it clear that this was not in any way to be considered as a part of or an endorsement of the BDS movement. In fact, they condemned major actions and goals of BDS. Explicitly, the resolution disavows BDS’s “…end goal of a one-state solution that would replace the state of Israel.” And apropos Dr. Hawking’s action, the resolution also condemns and disavows BDS’s “…cultural and academic boycott, which hurts more people than just policymakers, is counterproductive to academic and cultural growth…” They go on to say that their actions “…should in no way be misconstrued as support for any other goals or beliefs related to the BDS movement.” This was reiterated by the student government president who said, “In no way do I endorse the movement’s call for cultural and academic boycotts…” Even if  Dr. Hawking still wants to personally engage in a "counterproductive" academic boycott, he should be as clear as these students in asserting his principles while disassociating himself from BDS and its destructive goals and intentions.

momina71
momina71

i salute the courage of MR STEPHEN HAWKINGS in standing up to IMMORAL and UNJUST policies of zionist controlled ISRAEL...........in coming days i 'm hopeful many many celebrities of his stature would see that MORAL RIGHT matters in the jurisdiction of science and science needs to align itself with some MORAL code whether political in nature or social...........as the case may be. 

AtThyWord777
AtThyWord777

At the end of the day, as much as Stephen Hawkings may be respected as a Scientist, he is now throwing away a golden opportunity to express his scientific views on an international platform and is being used as a pawn on the chessboard of selfish politics.

Opportunity waits for no man. 

Science should not be shackled with the chains of politics.

The iron boot of politics should be dismantled and thrown into the scrap heap of history.



AtThyWord777
AtThyWord777

Science cannot stop to wait for politics to resolve all the problems in the world.

People grow old and pass on and when they die their contribution to science depends on how much they availed themselves to science .

Stephen Hawkings may make political statements that have totally nothing to do with science.

Politics change as people change. 

Regrettably Stephen Hawkings contribution to science would appear to be now ring fenced by the " Iron boots of politics..".

Some other scientist will pick up from where Stephen Hawkings threw in the towel.

Science will not stop to wait for politics to get it's house in order. 


perlman.izzy
perlman.izzy

I'm Jewish and I see nothing wrong with what Hawkings is doing.  My dad said largely the same things as the author of this article but I don't agree that his actions have an "anti-Semitic cast".  Or that the Israeli academics will necessarily have the same sentiments as American and European ones (ask a liberal who's been mugged; as I was recently, actually).  But the bottom line is that Hawkings has every right to boycott anybody he likes.  Boycotting is a legitimate way to pressure people to do the right thing.  It worked in South Africa and it may work here, although I doubt it will be very effective if it remains confined to academia.  The bigger question remains whether the boycott is justified -- it is well documented that the Palestinian leadership has turned down advantages in the past in favor of retaining a "right to return" and other untenable principles, and the rocket attacks/checkpoint restrictions are a chicken-and-egg situation.  Regardless, these are questions to put toward the boycotters themselves.  I think criticizing the boycott on any grounds other than these - particularly the spectre of antisemitism - is ill-advised.  

RaimoKangasniemi
RaimoKangasniemi

It's curious how people like Jews and Philo-Semites who have spent the last 70 years asking from the whole world why nothing was done to help the Jews and save them from the Nazis now go around telling that nothing should be done to help another oppressed people and that if something is done, it will supposedly have no effect at all.


I salute Stephen Hawking's decision and his courage. May many others follow his lead!

wilscombe
wilscombe

I am eternally grateful that Israel is not part of the British Isles.

TomFrauenshuh
TomFrauenshuh

Netanyahu is a wacked religious extremist who wants to wage a fundamentalist war on his neighbors. While Israel certainly isn't the only nation in the region responsible for such conflict, they are perpetuating it by flaunting around with their U.S. paid-for military (which is far more advanced than any military near them). Essentially, Netanyahu wants to start WW3 and because Stephen Hawking, among others, doesn't want to kiss his ass at some dinner then you want to smack a label on him and criticize him...pretty typical for anyone opposing Israel's fundamentalist war. This is still America however, and nobody HAS to support a fundamentalist war if they don't believe in it, even if The State and its media cronies TELL you to.

jayc8301
jayc8301

Boycotting Israel is NOT the same as boycotting Jewish-owned business or culture. Otherwise Noam Chomsky would in essence be advocating for boycott of his own books and output. As much as Israel is a Jewish state, it does not represent all Jews. This one fact is important in understanding that NOT supporting Israel doesnt necessarily makes you anti-Semitic.

jake321
jake321

@2aya22

You left of, “Historical echoes, anyone?” This puts the quote you use in context and pretty much invalidates your comment and comparison. If you don’t know of this repeated history of collective boycotts against Jews, you’re not qualified to say anything meaningful about this subject. By the way, some of this may already be happening. A few years ago one of my European clients who is a very wealthy supporter of Palestinian lead BDS, said that she and other like minded folk would have to boycott ALL Jewish businesses (NOT just Israeli or “Zionist”) if Israel didn’t change its ways. After the last Gaza war, she was true to her word. She broke off all business and communications with me. I’m a Jewish Californian, non-Zionist. I wonder where she now gets her wonderful French baked goods, since when she told me this back when, she did say she would feel bad about doing this, not because it was reflective of the Nazis, but because her favorite local bakery was owned by a Jew.     

jake321
jake321

@sjsamuel71

This is an old one. I too would like there to be a just settlement which would be a 2SS. Most Israelis think that but most Palestinians still want it all, or so the polls show. I was only disrespecting of his tie to those who have publicly called for policies that would mean the end of Israel and the elimination of the Jewish presence in the ME. I hope the 2 sides can now move towards a 2SS before it becomes a 1SS solution where it’s only Israel west of the Jordan. You’re right about Tutu but not Mandela. He didn’t call the situation Apartheid. There was a fake letter put out by one of those Palestinian eliminate Israel groups about 10 years ago which they claimed was from Mandela.

In any case, things for the Palestinians beyond the Green Line are bad in many ways, but there is nothing like Apartheid in Israel itself. And technically, however bad it is, by definition it can’t be Apartheid since the UN, South Africa and English dictionaries define Apartheid in terms of race. Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews are not separate races. In fact, over a third of the Jewish population in Israel came from the Indigenous Jews of Arab countries. This is more like a feud between first cousins over who should inherit the family farm.

jake321
jake321

@Achille

Well, not quite. Dr. Hawking took his action in knowing collaboration with the Palestinian lead BDS movement and at the urging of some fine examples of fair and reasonable people like Noam Chomsky here in the US. Note that the BDS movement calls for the boycott of ALL Israeli academic and cultural institutions and events as well as, in effect, anyone associated with them who do not swear an allegiance to the BDS’s version of the Palestinian cause. And what is this cause? The leadership of BDS has publically called for the elimination of Israel as a country. The published BDS goals, if implemented, would not only end Israel as a country, they would very likely result in the elimination of most of the Jews of the area. Call this anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic as you like. It’s hard to call it much else.

Dr. Hawking and his BDS friends clearly are not stupid people. They know this full well. If Dr. Hawking was truly a principled man and didn’t want to be associated with these goals, he should publically say so and disassociate himself from the vial aims of BDS. If he doesn’t, it is not unfair to consider him to be a supporter of these goals and thus open to being seen as not only objecting to some Israeli actions, but of being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic or anit-Jewish.

volman48
volman48

@Achille not attending a scientific conference because it is in Israel is not just disagreement...it is a statement for the world to know how 'bad' Israel is....don't twist it into anything less..it is a big blow into the face of jews who needs a country to survive the after thousands of years of evictions, pogroms, killings, extermination  Z(my grandparents where knifed by belarusian during the war while hiding from germans)...watch the Defiance movie...than speak on a subject...Mr hawkins...you should watch this movie as well...

ajl2517
ajl2517

@volman48 - Please sir, get over yourself. On a long enough timeline EVERYONE has historical grievances that they feel were never righted. Modern rabbinic Judaism did not exist until the final codification of the Talmud in the 5th century CE or the final codification of the Hebrew Bible in 90 CE - both of which happened after the destruction of the second temple. Neither Jesus nor any of his companions and countrymen were Jews in the contemporary sense and you know it. Furthermore it is my firm conviction as a nonbeliever that if anyone in a legitimate heir to the temple religion of the ancient Hebrews then it is Jesus Christ and his disciples - in keeping with the western tradition - NOT the pharisees and their latter day descendants whose religion and genetics are no more or less relevant to today's conflict than those of the Palestinians; many of whom are descended from the peoples, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, of the Bible. You sir, have beclowned yourself.

volman48
volman48

@LiborSupcik so, then the fact that United stated of America was based on 'inhabit others' land  criminalising USA as a legitimate state? Or Jews, (that in fact built jerusalem and were invaded hundreds of times by foreigners of all sorts and yet managed to give the world the first 'democrat' in the face of Jesus who was a member of Jewish society) you are questioning  here and call them as people on a mission to inhabit others' ...You should visit Israel and learn the history based on archaeological facts you will witness there. Than you will dare not speak of Jews as the occupiers of land of 'others'. Jesus was a devoted jew who visited the Jerusalem temple many times...who built the temple? The Rome coliseum is built by slave jews and the demolished Temple stones and gold was used to built coliseum. 

Was there ever a Palestinian state or even a nation called palestinian? talk to Jordan king...he will tell you what hist grandpa did  palestinians ...learn a thing or two ...Jourand is the birthplace of Palestinians...HALf  OF iSRAEL IS for arabs. They are israeli citizens ...any one jew living in gaza or west bank? Any jews in Egypt? Iraq?  Siria?   You are full of hot air...You tell me who land was it? Britain was running it before Israel was established...nobody claimed the land at that time...but British empire. .It is so scinic to single our israel while China is ignoring Tibetans in a much grater scale,

ajl2517
ajl2517

@GordLindsay Dr. Hawking was disabled in a skiing accident as an adult. But I do thank you for so shamefully displaying both the ignorance and passive-agressive, mocking nature of Stephen's detractors. For a man as aged as your picture would imply, it's awfully immature of you.

AtThyWord777
AtThyWord777

@momina71 Get your facts straight ... The man is clearly being "..BEING USED..".  

Science is Science and Politics is Politics.

Keep Politics out of science.

Politics is based on the shifting sands of political games.

Science is based on what may be termed the quest to know how things work through the study called "Science".

Stephen Hawkings would have served Science better by steering clear of politics.

Unfortunately , Politics has placed it's grubby iron boots in the path of the progress of science.



volman48
volman48

@perlman.izzy you are very naive...i am liberal...and mathematician...and if scientists need to gather to discuss science (not politics)...i would be there if it helps the world to move forward technologically ..Also,,i am old enough to know why Israel must exists if you and all the people that still pride themselves as Jews want to survive as one people. I grew up in Russia...and i know what Europeans think of Jews ....Hitler would not succeed if the rest of Europeans did not support his hate for Jews..Hawkings living comfortably in England   and does not voice his moral judgment on England for being occupiers of the world not-that-long ago. What exactly you a jew feel toward Israel? supporting Hawkings means danger for Israel existence...plain and simple...By supporting him you help the world to antagonise against us. No country i know of is built by listening to their haters what is right and what is wrong...World is overrun by injustice...Being liberal for Jews may lead to another Hitler...be careful what you are talking about. If someone hates you enough to kill you... don't play 'nice' to them...you will be killed

DrorBenAmi
DrorBenAmi

@perlman.izzy ...to compare israel to south africa is ludicrous....for example there is no law in israel against having sex with an arab....but the point is that israel is a very small place....as the article points out: why does hawkings ignore problems much bigger, yet speak out only on this one issue? 

you say your dad spoke out: did you dad speak out when the clinton administration caused the slow and painful deaths of 500,000 iraqi children ? Did your dad speak out when Hamas threw members of the PLO off the roofs of buildings in gaza? Did your dad speak out after Mi Lai when american soldiers raped and murdered 300 vietnamese? does your dad speak out about the 25,000 soldiers raped by their fellow americans ?

no, all these things your dad decided to hold his tongue....only when israel does something wrong does he speak out....why is that ???

jake321
jake321

@perlman.izzy

It’s not that Dr. Hawking is boycotting that has many upset. It’s that he’s doing it in direct support of the BDS movement at the request of Palestinian organizers of that movement. This moves his action from being a personal statement of his principles to a political one which has goals way beyond his immediate action. The stated goals of the Palestinian lead BDS movement is to take actions and try to institute policies which are aimed at the elimination of Israel and the creation of a new overwhelmingly Muslim state. For example, their main chant is, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” When they publish this, they show it in conjunction with a map of Palestine from the river to the sea, from Lebanon to the Sinai. No Israel left there. Less directly stated, but intended none the less, is the removal of the Jewish population of the area. A look at what happened to the indigenous Jews of all the Muslim states in the Middle East indicates what would befall the Jews in this new Muslim state. From near a million, the Jewish population, by force or encouragement, was reduced to only a few tens of thousands in total. And these were indigenous Jews. Do you think Muslims of the new Palestine would treat people they consider colonial interlopers any better? To nail this point home, I was directly told by a top leader of the BDS movement in the US that the best thing we could do to advance their cause was to “…lobby for a change in US immigration law that would permit Israeli Jews to freely move to New York City.”

If Dr. Hawking is really a principled person, he should say he agrees with these goals of the BDS movement that he supports or publicly disassociate himself from them. I bet your dad would have disassociated himself from these vial BDS goals. And until Dr. Hawking does the same, some might be justified in seeing his actions as having an "anti-Semitic cast." 

DrorBenAmi
DrorBenAmi

@RaimoKangasniemi  there is a little bit of a difference between nazis executing 5 1/2 million jews plus 7 1/2 million gentiles  simply because of their race and israel carrying out anti terror operations. israel does not execute anyone, much less palestinians, and palestinians are given a trail and are represented by legal counsel (usually). The british under the mandate executed over a thousand arabs and hamas will throw you off the roof of a building if they even suspect you are a member of the PLO.

The issue here is that the uk has been occupying northern ireland for 400 years, you don't see hawkings calling for a boycott. the uk military helped the americans enforce an embargo on iraqi which resulted in the deaths of 500,000 children, you don't see hawkings speaking out....

They say in the last ten years american and european multinationals have caused the deaths of 6 million people in the congo...do you see hawkings speaking out?...if 5,000 palestinians have been killed in the last ten years I would be really shocked.  I don't think even 5,000 palestinians and lebanese have been killed...yet hawkings speaks out...

the british killed 30,000 mau maus in 3 years....the french killed hundreds of thousands in algeria in ten years, the americans killed 3 million in viet nam....but lets all ignore these wars and compare the israel to the nazis....

tell me raimo:  did the 3 million jews in poland fire thousands of rockets into germany? 

DrorBenAmi
DrorBenAmi

@wilscombe ...why don't you watch the program on al jazerra.com  called "ha negba" and then tell us how proud you are to be living in england...also, do you plan on pulling out the settlers in northern ireland any time soon ?

jake321
jake321

@wilscombe I'm sure they feel the same. about you. Heck, they did a few not so nice things to get out of the British Empire. Well, that's about the same as us Americans, the Irish, the Indians, etc. But you do have such quant customs and so such yesterday year attitudes about other select people. I'm affaid Dr. Hawking is showing a bit of this here.  

TheFunOne21
TheFunOne21

@TomFrauenshuh Ummm, putting aside the tripe you wrote about Bibi's alleged Armageddon like intentions, this event has nothing to do with Bibi, nor will Bibi be attending, it is for Peres and other Israeli leftists.


And Hawking is not American, he's British and btw, he relies on Israeli technology to get through the day so he's also a hypocrite.

volman48
volman48

@jayc8301 yes it does...If you would grow up in Europe...to all Europeans we are all one people...Jews. 

If you will not support Israel . Europeans will raise another Hitler...Living in USA ...you don't  know all the wars and pogroms and killings and persecution and hate Jews endured in this region. It is only a matter of time before boycott will spill into Jews  if you think israel existence is subject to boycott.

TheFunOne21
TheFunOne21

@jayc8301 Noam Chomsky is an Uncle Tom, luckily, a rarity among Jews.


Boycotting Israel is the same as boycotting all things Jewish because Israel is the Jewish state and it represents Jews everywhere.  Boycotting Jewish businesses and events is so 1930s Germany...ask them how that worked out for them...?

sjsamuel71
sjsamuel71

@jake321 @sjsamuel71 Jake, with all due respects,i knew someone would make a technical jargon out of my reply: 2SS, polls, west of Jordan, fake letter, Green Line and UN and English dictionaries. And you are also wrong about the fact that Tutu has not called it apartheid.

But all that apart, you would realise that it's a deeply flawed situation, with Israel holding all the aces (land and power) and with the U.S. oblivious to world opinion. A two-state solution with pre-1967 borders or inevitably a one-state solution. Israel will have to budge, or it'll be forced to by the march of time. How early opinion and politics in Israel changes would decide how less traumatic the eventual partition would be. And however the PR machinery of Israel plays it, the Palestinians are the aggrieved people as of now, not the other way round.

volman48
volman48

@ajl2517 @volman48 Ask Hitler and eauropian definition of what it means to be a Jew...nothing to do with religion...just historical facts..French people are feench not because of cristianity or whtever else they beleive in. I am an atheist...and still a Jew by dna markers...and cultural affiliation...and would be in gas chamber just for that. jesus dna matching with mine...so, he would be defined as  JEW BY EUROPEAN STANDARDS...dont mix religion with athencity that has cultural, language and historical unity

jake321
jake321

@ajl2517

@GordLindsay

You assert that “Dr. Hawking was disabled in a skiing accident as an adult.” Well, not quite. From Dr. Hawking’s website;” In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease…It was a great shock to me to discover that I had motor neurone disease. I had never been very well co-ordinated physically as a child.” You make many other assertive claims in your posts. If you couldn’t get this very basic one right, what are all your other ones worth?

GordLindsay
GordLindsay

@ajl2517 @GordLindsay 

I can understand your concerns but tragic accidents are often blamed on G-d.  Since I believe that deep down, we all have a knowledge of G-d, the tendency to blame Him is quite human, and not reprehensible in the least.  It is understandable.  I am not a detractor of Dr. Hawking;  rather, I am an admirer and a sympathizer.  If you would re-read my comment, you would see I have a great deal of respect for him.  In fact, it is out of this respect that I share my belief that his attitude toward Israel probably does not proceed from his prodigious intellect but from an unconscious bias.

LiborSupcik
LiborSupcik

@DrorBenAmio to compare is feasible:  I recall a woman winning a court when she claimed a rape after the voluntary sex, since she found out the guy lied about being Jewish. Also (quoting wikipedia) unlike Palestinians, Israeli civilians living in the Palestinian Territories are not subject to military or local law, but are prosecuted according to Israeli penal law. Both these give a base for comparison.

jake321
jake321

@volman48

@jayc8301

Unfortunately, there’s too much truth in what you say. A while ago, I had the “pleasure” to have extensive conversations with a European client on this issue who is a very wealthy backer of BDS. Like many of the Progressive elites in Europe, she is fervently anti-Israel. The main point she finally made was that if Israel does not treat the Palestinians the way she would like them to be treated, she and others in Europe will have to move from a boycott of Israel to a boycott of all Jews everywhere. She has been good to her word. She cut off all business and communications with me after the last Gaza conflict. (I’m a non-Zionist American with Jewish background.) But I wonder where she gets her wonderful French pastries now. She did say that it would hurt her to boycott all Jews since her favorite local bakery is run by a Jew.

cannibalofthetrees
cannibalofthetrees

@TheFunOne21 @jayc8301 It most certainly DOES NOT represent Jews everywhere. I am Jewish and I do not support Israel. I support defunding Israel and letting them defend themselves, but that's as much support for that state as this Jew will ever muster.

jake321
jake321

@sjsamuel71

@jake321

I am sorry for the use of jargon, any misunderstanding or too technical a response. First, I didn’t say that about Tutu. What I said is that Mandela never accused Israel of Apartheid. But more importantly, my main point was that while Dr. Hawking was taking a principled stand as he saw it, he also did strongly associate his position with others whose stand on what should happen with Israel and, implicitly, with the Jews of the area is despicable. He is clearly intelligent enough and principled enough to be honest and say he also would like the elimination of Israel and the removal of the Jews of the area, or should disassociate himself from those who support this genocidal approach.

As of now the Palestinians may be the greater aggrieved people. However, in the past they were part of aggressive wars against the legitimate state of Israel and its people. It might not be nice, but losing wars has its consequences, especially for those who started them. But you’re right. We are now here and hopefully both parties will seriously make the compromises needed for the creation of a Palestinian state on part of the west side of the Jordan (that’s geographic and not jargon).

Finally, it’s also not always nice, but very rarely in human history has who is the most aggrieved party had much to do with the ultimate outcome of a conflict. If anything, the clinging to the aggrieved party narrative has been one of the main reasons for recurrent wars in this area and has been a major hindrance to a peace settlement.

ajl2517
ajl2517

@volman48 @ajl2517 If Judaism were a race, one would not be able to convert in to it. Hitler is as irrelevant to today's discussion as the religious and genetic inheritances of the Israeli and Palestinian people. European standards of geneaology have nothing to do with the state of Israel's current conduct in the territories. You seem to be fighting an imagniary battle against a man you presume to be intent on Israel's destruction. I am nothing of the sort and frankly couldn't care less if you manage to hold your claim to one of the many discriminatory ethno-religious fiefdoms in the middle east, it is only when you insist that I and others endorse your discriminatory ethno-religious fiefdom in the middle east as an unique example of modern liberal democracy in the region upon pain of slander as a bigot that you lose any and all sympathy; as Rabbi Wolpe habove as.

jake321
jake321

It's amazing how defensive and vociferous a self-righteous person can be when found with their factual pants down. Again, I don't think God had anything to do with his boycott. That was someone else. But you might note that Dr. Hawking not only doesn't believe in God, he famously didn't believe in the "God Particle" (the Higgs Boson). This was another cosmic bet he lost. Note that this is central to his field of expertise. His expertise in theology and politics are not quite on the same level.

ajl2517
ajl2517

@jake321 @ajl2517 @GordLindsay - There is NO maybe about it; as an atheist, Mr Hawking wouldn't blame a god that he doesn't believe in for his condition. As for that condition; desite the genetic nature of MS, it is widely known that Mr Hawking's PHYSICAL, not genetic, frame was irreprably damaged both during a fall down a flight of stairs at university as well as in a skiing accident. I never said that these accidents were not related to his condition but that doesn't take away from the fact that they did indeed batter his frame profoundly. Your points also fail to take away from the fact that Mr Lindsay, and yourself, have no criticism of substance to offer and so are resorting to immature measures such as taunting the good scientist by attributing an existential hatred of god to him that he neither possesses nor would think rational. Finally, for a man berating a cripple and attributing false feelings to him, you really should look up the definition of hypocrisy in the dictionary before trying to imply, however tacitly, that it is Mr Hawking who is the petty one in this situation. The petty party would be you, the state of Israel, and all its partisans who fail to realize that the overreaction is ALWAYS worse than the offense perceived. Such a disgusting display by those who claim to represent some sort of vanguard for civility against the forces of theocracy fails to disprove any of your critics; of which there seems to be an ever increasing supply.

jake321
jake321

@ajl2517

@jake321

 @GordLindsay

I wasn’t the one questioning Dr. Hawking’s motivations based on his maybe blaming God or fate or whatever. I was just noting that you made a very assertive statement that you thought was true when it wasn’t. And further noted that when someone asserts they are right on something basic but are dead wrong, it does bring their other “factual” claims into question. I personally couldn’t care less what Dr. Hawking thinks about God. From what I’ve read of his, God doesn’t take up much of his appeasable brain matter.

However, speaking of motivation, a bit of this might derive from a bet he made some 20 years ago and then lost. A main theory or assertion by Hawking early in his career, and part of his claim to fame, was that information was lost in a Black Hole. The more brilliant Dr. Leonard Susskind, of Stanford but previously of Tel Aviv and Yeshiva Universities, publicly “declared war” on Hawking over this. Pretty much lead by Susskind, theoretical physicists showed that Hawking was wrong and about 10 years ago, Hawing was forced to admit publicly that he lost the bet in front of hundreds of his peers. Even brilliant scientists can sometimes hold grudges and be pretty petty.

As an aside, I was wondering if out of simple intellectual curiosity Dr. Hawking also spoke with Israeli scientists as well as his Palestinian scientist friends about this. But maybe he wasn’t able to since he might have developed a Pavlovien aversion response of sorts as a result of his traumatic run-in with Susskind.

ajl2517
ajl2517

@jake321 @ajl2517 @GordLindsay - Sir, Stephen's ALS was not diagnosed until after he was 21. Inherited or not, the man wasn't disabled until well into adulthood and would have no reason to spend his entire life blaming God for anything, wither in the past or presently given that Mr Hawking is now an atheist. I assume you are only lambasting this particular post because you had no argument of substance with which to rebut the other. So, then, how valuable is the word of a combative man who refuses to address the argument with which he clearly has taken issue?

volman48
volman48

@cannibalofthetrees @TheFunOne21 @jayc8301 if you still want to call yourself a jew...then you need a country from which you came from. No Israel...you will not be a Jew...Nobody is more self destructive as a Jews to himself...you are the epitome of it. My mom family all perished in the second world war... if Israel no more...jew will be wiped out as one people...No people can exist without a country. You must have some pride and self worth to want a country that we had for thousands of years to be ours finally. if you dont understand the need for israel....stop calling yourself  Jew...you asimilated too much into the USA to wven know that your genes are from the region of ancient Israel...

cannibalofthetrees
cannibalofthetrees

@TheFunOne21 @cannibalofthetrees @jayc8301 There are more than a few, my friend. The number continues to grow too. I am sorry that you have been left behind, but that as you say, is your problem. It is Israel's problem though that Jews like myself live in the United States and are beginning to question supporting such a regime. People like me vote and eventually there will be enough of us that funding gets cut when the Israelis act as fools. Only a matter of time; that's how evolution works.

TheFunOne21
TheFunOne21

@cannibalofthetrees @TheFunOne21 @jayc8301 Considering Israel was first created over 3000 years ago and Judaism is about 4000 years old, I'll grant you that Jews existed about 1000 years before Israel's creation.


However, Israel, as the Jewish nation, is representative of the Jewish people.  That there are a few unfortunate ones like yourself is a shame but it's your problem, not Israel's.

cannibalofthetrees
cannibalofthetrees

@TheFunOne21 @cannibalofthetrees @jayc8301 You get your facts from where, Bazooka Joe wrappers? Israel represents the Jews that live there; nothing more. Jews existed a long time before Israel was established and will exist a long time after it has fallen by its own hand.