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When physicist Stephen Hawking scientist boycotted Israel academically for Palestinian cause

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 15 March 2018, 16:36 IST

The 76-year-old renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away on Wednesday. He was not only known for his groundbreaking work but also for his support for Palestine. 

In May 2013, he made headlines when he boycotted a high-profile conference in Israel where he had to speak at a conference.

That was a Presidential Conference to be held in Jerusalem and was being hosted by the late Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Giving his reasons for cancelling his tour, Hawking mentioned in a letter that he won't be able to be a part of the conference as the policy of the  Israeli government was likely to lead to disaster.

He also said, "I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank."

But then he canceled the visit after receiving emails from Palestinian academics who unanimously withdraw from the conference.

He also mentioned in the letter that had he attended the conference he would have stated his opinion.

 This decision of Hawking was widely celebrated by Palestinian activists and academics.

One of the supporters said, "We think this will rekindle the kind of interest among international academics in academic boycotts that were present in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa."


His Palestine connection did not limit to only the boycott stance but last year, he asked his millions of Facebook followers to contribute financially to the Palestinian Advanced Physics School - a physics lecture series for masters students in the occupied West Bank.

Also Read: When Physicist Stephen Hawking had trashed Donald Trump's approach towards environmental issues

First published: 15 March 2018, 16:36 IST