De academische boycot van Israel is in één woord walgelijk. Veel Israelische academici staan zelf behoorlijk kritisch tegenover hun regering. Bovendien druist het in tegen de idee van vrije uitwisseling van ideeën, en ten slotte draagt het niet bij tot vrede maar brengt deze juist verder weg. Iedere boycot van Israel versterkt de nationalistische tendenzen en het gevoel er alleen voor te staan. Hiermee vervreemdt men juist de mensen van zich die in Israel zelf voor veranderingen kunnen zorgen.
Hawking is indeed boycotting Peres's Jerusalem meeting
After Cambridge U. inaccurately cited health reasons, British physicist confirms he's bailing on Presidential Conference in solidarity with Palestinians
British physicist Stephen Hawking at a conference with Israeli high school students in Jerusalem in December 2006. (photo credit: Orel Cohen/Flash90)
The University of Cambridge on Wednesday afternoon belatedly resolved conflicting reports surrounding Stephen Hawking's cancellation of his scheduled participation in the fifth annual Presidential Conference in Jerusalem in June, confirming that the renowned physics professor was boycotting the event for political reasons.
"We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking's office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President's office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott," a Cambridge spokesperson said.
"We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly."
A source involved in planning the Presidential Conference would not comment directly on the contents of Hawking's letter to Peres, but confirmed to The Times of Israel that the physicist was boycotting the conference. Hawking's decision to back out "has nothing to do with health," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue.
"He is 71 years old. He's fine, but he has to be sensible about what he can do," Holt said.
The Cambridge professor suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), is almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, and uses a speech generating device to communicate. His health has been steadily deteriorating for decades.
The heads of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine organization published a statement on its saying its members "understand" that Hawking declined attending the conference because of "his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there."
After the initial reports, Presidential Conference chairman Israel Maimon decried Hawking's boycott of the conference as "outrageous and inappropriate, especially for one so fundamentally associated with the spirit of independence as a person and an academic."
"If Israel wants peace, it will have to talk to Hamas," Hawking said at the time. "Hamas are the democratically elected leaders of the Palestinian people, and cannot be ignored."