(JNS.org) Israel critic Noam Chomsky urged famed British physicist Stephen Hawking to boycott the fifth annual Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, The Guardian reported. Chomsky, a leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, joined several leading British academics to urge Hawking to boycott the conference after hearing that Hawking initially accepted an invitation to attend. Israeli Presidential Conference Steering Committee Chairman Israel Maimon slammed Hawking’s decision. “Israel is a democracy, where anyone can state his case, whatever it may be. Imposing a boycott goes against the principles of holding an open and democratic discourse,” Marimon said.
Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, told JNS.org, “It’s too bad that physicist Stephen Hawking only has room in his heart for the one side in an ongoing conflict, and is unable to recognize the suffering of Israeli civilians who are bombarded by acts of terrorism by Palestinian groups like Hamas. It is shocking that such an intelligent person didn’t take the time to learn more about the aspirations of the BDS movement; namely, the elimination of the state of Israel.”
The Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center — noted that Hawking is boycotting Israel despite the fact that the computer-based system he uses to speak “runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team.” Hawking has ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “I suggest that if [Hawking] truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet,” Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement.