As announced by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) and subsequently covered by The Guardian, Reuters and others, world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking has decided to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, and pull out of an Israeli conference hosted by President Shimon Peres in June. After initial confusion, this was confirmed – Hawking is staying away on political grounds.
Here are five reasons why Professor Hawking is right to boycott:
In recent years, there has been a growing, critical questioning of Israel’s definition as a “Jewish state”, and the system of privilege (and discrimination) that it entails. This has happened for a few different reasons, including: attention-grabbing efforts in Israel to implement cruder ethnocratic legislation, the political mobilisation of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their subsequent targeting by the state, the treatment of non-Jewish African migrants, Netanyahu’s repeated demand that Palestinians “recognise” Israel as a Jewish state, the focus of the BDS call, and increasing anti-Zionist dissent within the Jewish community in the West.