Letters | Scientist stirs controversy with protest against Israel

Something insidious at work when Israel is sole focus of boycotts

Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking withdrew from a June conference in Israel in support of a boycott against the Jewish state.

Eric Reed/Associated Press/File

Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking withdrew from a June conference in Israel in support of a boycott against the Jewish state.

On its face, the May 11 editorial “Stephen Hawking: peaceful protest, angry outcry” appeared measured and moderate. It was anything but.

Hawking’s decision not to attend an academic conference in Israel was an extension of a lopsided global campaign that, in the name of peace, urges boycotts and other actions that are designed to demonize and isolate Israel.


The backers of these efforts promote anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations and organize actions such as Hawking’s in the name of peace, but you won’t find them speaking out when Israeli civilians are the subject of violent attacks and Palestinian leaders steadfastly refuse to negotiate for peace.

This type of partisanship empowers those who reject reconciliation and Israel’s right to exist, especially as they can always count on some European intellectuals such as Hawking to have their back.

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By depriving Hawking’s action of context, the Globe could argue that it was a simple act of conscience for peace.

When one realizes that Israel alone is the focus of such extraordinary boycotts, one comes to appreciate that something far more malevolent is at work.

Michael Tichnor


Robert Leikind


AJC Boston

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