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

Ideas

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

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