Why Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott went viral

JERUSALEM, May 14, 2003 ― When British physicist Stephen Hawking cancelled an upcoming trip to Israel due to pressure from Palestinian academics to honor the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, it caused a huge stir on the Web. Reactions to an earlier article here, too, were passionate on both sides of the political spectrum.

There were those who called Hawking an anti-Semite and Israel-basher. Others spewed venom at Hawkings’ critics for daring to suggest that his motives were impure. The common argument on the part of the critics was that Hawking uses technology invented in Israel, and that if he is so intent on boycotting the Jewish state, he should stop using the devices that enable him to communicate.

SEE RELATED: Why Stephen Hawking’s Israel boycott matters

My own position points to the hypocrisy of the Palestinian academics who have been using Hawking as their poster boy, failing to mention that had he been born in any area ruled by Islamists, he would have been ostracized for his physical disability. I cited an example of a three-year-old Palestinian who has been living in an Israeli hospital since infancy, because his parents and the authorities in Gaza abandoned him when his hands and feet were amputated. Meanwhile, his doctors have not only been caring for him, teaching him how to use his mini wheelchair and prostheses, but have been raising money for his treatment.

But many celebrities have cancelled their trips to Israel on ideological grounds. Why did the Hawking incident touch such a major nerve, both in Israel and elsewhere?

The following is a video interview, conducted at the Israel Hayom studio on May 13, discussing this very question.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from Right Angles
blog comments powered by Disqus
Ruthie Blum

 Ruthie Blum is a pull-no-punches, conservative, Israeli-American columnist for Israel Hayom,  and the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

Contact Ruthie Blum


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus