Stephen Hawking was branded a hypocrite by critics for his decision to boycott an Israeli conference over what he called the state’s 46-year occupation of Palestine.
Hawking’s critics pointed out that the celebrated scientist and author uses Israeli technology in the computer equipment that helps him function day-by-day.
Hawking, now 71, has suffered from motor neurone disease for 50 years. He relies on a computer-based system to communicate with the world.
But Shurat HaDin, an Israel law center that represents victims of terrorism, stated that the equipment has been provided to Hawking by high-tech firm Intel since 1997. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the law center, stated:
“Hawking’s decision to join the boycott of Israel is quite hypocritical for an individual who prides himself on his whole intellectual accomplishment. His whole computer-based communications system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team.”
Stephen Hawking’s boycott of Israel was announced on Wednesday by conference organizers and the University of Cambridge, where the scientist serves as a physicist and cosmologist. Hawking pulled out of a high-profile conference to be held in Jerusalem in June so that he could support the academic boycott of the Jewish nation.
The boycott was organized by international activists and is aimed at protesting Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Earlier, Tim Holt, the university’s director of communications, had told reporters that Hawking withdrew from the conference for health reasons.
However, Cambridge later issued a statement saying that the scientist told the Israelis he would not attend “based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner added of Hawking’s decision, “I suggest if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet.”
While Intel has not commented specifically on Stephen Hawking’s academic boycott of Israel, their website quotes Justin Rattner, chief technology officer, as saying earlier in 2013:
“We have a long-standing relationship with Professor Hawking … We are very pleased to continue to … work closely with Professor Hawking on improving his personal communication system.”
Do you think Stephen Hawking is a hypocrite for his academic boycott of Israel?