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Old 05-08-2013, 07:42 PM   #1
mhgaffney
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Default Physicist Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

Physicist pulls out of conference hosted by president Shimon Peres in protest at treatment of Palestinians

Harriet Sherwood and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Tuesday 7 May 2013

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president's conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres's 90th birthday.

Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking's approval described it as "his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there".

Hawking's decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions.

In April the Teachers' Union of Ireland became the first lecturers' association in Europe to call for an academic boycott of Israel, and in the United States members of the Association for Asian American Studies voted to support a boycott, the first national academic group to do so.

In the four weeks since Hawking's participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, he has been bombarded with messages from Britain and abroad as part of an intense campaign by boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind. In the end, Hawking told friends, he decided to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues who unanimously agreed that he should not attend.

Hawking's decision met with abusive responses on Facebook, with many commentators focusing on his physical condition, and some accusing him of antisemitism.

By participating in the boycott, Hawking joins a small but growing list of British personalities who have turned down invitations to visit Israel, including Elvis Costello, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox and Mike Leigh.

However, many artists, writers and academics have defied and even denounced the boycott, calling it ineffective and selective. Ian McEwan, who was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 2011, responded to critics by saying: "If I only went to countries that I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed It's not great if everyone stops talking."

Noam Chomsky, a prominent supporter of the Palestinian cause, has said that he supports the "boycott and divestment of firms that are carrying out operations in the occupied territories" but that a general boycott of Israel is "a gift to Israeli hardliners and their American supporters".

Hawking has visited Israel four times in the past. Most recently, in 2006, he delivered public lectures at Israeli and Palestinian universities as the guest of the British embassy in Tel Aviv. At the time, he said he was "looking forward to coming out to Israel and the Palestinian territories and excited about meeting both Israeli and Palestinian scientists".

Since then, his attitude to Israel appears to have hardened. In 2009, Hawking denounced Israel's three-week attack on Gaza, telling Riz Khan on Al-Jazeera that Israel's response to rocket fire from Gaza was "plain out of proportion The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue."

Israel Maimon, chairman of the presidential conference said: "This decision is outrageous and wrong.

"The use of an academic boycott against Israel is outrageous and improper, particularly for those to whom the spirit of liberty is the basis of the human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which everyone can express their opinion, whatever it may be. A boycott decision is incompatible with open democratic discourse."

In 2011, the Israeli parliament passed a law making a boycott call by an individual or organisation a civil offence which can result in compensation liable to be paid regardless of actual damage caused. It defined a boycott as "deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage".

This article was amended on 8 May 2013. The original described Hawking as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He stepped down in 2009.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...ademic-boycott
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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This will probably tilt the battle in favor of the Muslims. Oh wait no it won't.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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Good for Stephen Hawking.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #4
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Didn't read.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Hawking needs to focus on letting someone brush his brown teeth.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:41 AM   #6
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Hawking needs to focus on letting someone brush his brown teeth.
Who is gonna wipe your brown eye?
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:02 AM   #7
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Didn't read.
I didn't either. It's pretty standard for left-leaning academics to cling to such causes. It's quite bizarre, considering that they hate Israel in the name of brutality while they endlessly defend people who strap bombs to juveniles and send them into pizza parlors.

If Muslim countries only treated all of their citizens as well as Israel treats it's own non-Jewish population.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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This will probably tilt the battle in favor of the Muslims. Oh wait no it won't.
These people are screwed up.

While all we hear is prattle about how evil Israel is, we don't hear about persecutions in the West Bank of Christians by the Muslims. In some cases, they're being harassed out of towns such as Bethlehem with not a peep from the MSM. It seems rather odd that the media generally only express interest in religious persecution if it's against Muslims.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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These people are screwed up.

While all we hear is prattle about how evil Israel is, we don't hear about persecutions in the West Bank of Christians by the Muslims. In some cases, they're being harassed out of towns such as Bethlehem with not a peep from the MSM. It seems rather odd that the media generally only express interest in religious persecution if it's against Muslims.
It depends on the media. Mainstream media only has two versions, and you seem to parrot the mainstream right-wing media.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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It depends on the media. Mainstream media only has two versions, and you seem to parrot the mainstream right-wing media.
What mainstream right-wing media? Fox News? You're talking about ONE conservative outlet versus 4 network outlets and at least 2 cable news outlets. The 2 cable news outlets mix their journalism with social and political activism.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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Egyptian Christians, Iraq Christians, and now Syrian Christians are all screwed. Liberals don't care though because they don't see Islamic extremsim as religion. They see them through the eyes of anti-semetism.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:53 PM   #12
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Egyptian Christians, Iraq Christians, and now Syrian Christians are all screwed. Liberals don't care though because they don't see Islamic extremsim as religion. They see them through the eyes of anti-semetism.
How much attention is given them in the MSM? Palestinian ones aren't exactly treated well, either.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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I didn't either. It's pretty standard for left-leaning academics to cling to such causes. It's quite bizarre, considering that they hate Israel in the name of brutality while they endlessly defend people who strap bombs to juveniles and send them into pizza parlors.

If Muslim countries only treated all of their citizens as well as Israel treats it's own non-Jewish population.
Are you referring to the theft of lands in Palestinian ownership for more than a thousand years?

Or do you mean the ripping up of olive groves, the poisoning of wells, the raping of women, the bulldozing of homes, or the use of children for target practice?

Last edited by mhgaffney; 05-09-2013 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:39 PM   #14
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Are you referring to the theft of lands in Palestinian ownership for more than a thousand years?

Or do you mean the ripping up of olive groves, the poisoning of wells, the raping of women, the bulldozing of homes, or the use of children for target practice?
It's actually starting to make sense now. You are pro muslim.


Just admit it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #15
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The Israeli's are doing all of those things to the Palestinians. Admit it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #16
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It's actually starting to make sense now. You are pro muslim.
Just admit it.
I'm not any more pro Muslim than I'm pro Buddhist, pro Hindu, pro Taoist or pro Judaeo-Christian.

I'm pro all world faiths.

Perhaps what you are missing is that I am also pro peace -- which requires me to speak out loud and clear against the US war machine. And because Israel is a favored US ally -- I also have to speak out against Israel's racist agenda.

Clear now?
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:53 PM   #17
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Are you referring to the theft of lands in Palestinian ownership for more than a thousand years?
You keep saying this kind of crap but you can't point out to me exactly when over the last thousand years the "Palestinians" ever controlled " Palestine"

In reality the whole thing is a mythical Arab anti-Jewish construct.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:23 PM   #18
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A little 'factual' history.

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Genetic analysis suggests that a majority of the Muslims of Palestine, inclusive of Arab citizens of Israel, are descendants of Christians, Jews and other earlier inhabitants of the southern Levant whose core may reach back to prehistoric times. A study of high-resolution haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Israeli Jews (70%) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82%) belonged to the same chromosome pool.[29] Since the time of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century, religious conversions have resulted in Palestinians being predominantly Sunni Muslim by religious affiliation, though there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority of various Christian denominations, as well as Druze and a small Samaritan community.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palesti...estral_origins

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The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timelin...name_Palestine
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:50 PM   #19
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What do people want the USA to do? Stop giving Israel aid? put sanctions on them?
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:03 AM   #20
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DenverBrit, you are a revisionist!
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:12 AM   #21
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DenverBrit, you are a revisionist!
I like 'facts' with my cornflakes.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:15 AM   #22
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What do people want the USA to do? Stop giving Israel aid? put sanctions on them?
I'll answer your question with a question.

What exactly does Israel do for the United States? Do they provide anything we can't get somewhere else or do ourselves for less trouble? We're not even their largest trading partner...they export more to China and Russia than the US.

They have no oil.

In terms of the economic factors (you know, that thing you Repugs like to talk about all the time), Israel gives us NOTHING. In terms of military? There's nothing the Israelis can do that we can't do for ourselves.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:30 AM   #23
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Not sure if this was aimed at me. If it was, I don't see the relevance of when a term for a region was coined. You could adopt the mantle of the ancient Egyptian name for pretty much anything and it would predate (and probably contradict) the modern order of anything.

In the real world, Israel's control has gone (backwards) from Israel to the British Empire, to the Ottoman Turks, to the Egyptians with some Crusaders mixed in between, to the (Eastern Roman) Greeks, to the Romans, and Ancient Israelites, with a mix before that of Babylonian, Persian, with some more Egyptian rule sprinkled about. There has never been a real independent Palestinian state of any kind for any real duration throughout the known history of the world.

This isn't about some kind of firm national identity. It's about Islam vs Judaism. And Islam has no greater claim to (or any better prospects for) the Democratic nation of Isreal.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:52 AM   #24
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You keep saying this kind of crap but you can't point out to me exactly when over the last thousand years the "Palestinians" ever controlled " Palestine"

In reality the whole thing is a mythical Arab anti-Jewish construct.
Your cute summation of world history would earn you an "F" at any university here in the states -- or anywhere in the world.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:54 AM   #25
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DenverBrit, you are a revisionist!
haha

For once, Brit did some actual research. Bravo. Miracles do happen.
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