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Stephen Hawking Trips the Outrage Wire


TRIBE Member
This astrophysicist vs Israel thing is pretty interesting to see. I think it should be a bit of a warning sign, when people like Stephen Hawking (of all people), are saying hey, I don't really want to be associated with any of that.

Of course this sails over the heads of the likudniks, whose Rabid Defense Response was triggered by the mild mannered scientist who made a decision to not lend his fame to an event for a personal political reason. How dare he!

Reposting from Glenn Greenwald:

As the Guardian was the first to report, the physicist Stephen Hawking withdrew from "a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians." The resulting attacks on Hawking were instant and predictable.

The Israeli writer Noam Sheizaf has written the best article I've read on the entire matter. He points out that the event from which Hawking withdrew is not really an academic one but rather "an annual celebration of the Israeli business, political and military elites", and he rebuts the principal attacks on Hawking. Juan Cole adds this simple point:

"Israel, which daily steals Palestinian land and resources, is like a wealthy person who insists on burglarizing his neighbor, and naturally after a while the dinner invitations in polite society drop off."​

As any writer well knows, nothing guarantees more vicious, personalized, or sustained attacks than criticizing the Israeli government: it's one of the reasons so many people refrain from doing so. Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston this morning references just a few of the despicable attacks on Hawking (he notes that Israeli professor Steven Plaut wrote of the wheelchair-bound physicist: "I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!") and calls on everyone to stand up to these sorts of bullying campaigns and smear tactics. Meanwhile, one writer tries here to depict Hawking as a hypocrite for having visited Iran and China, but that claim is quickly and thoroughly destroyed by commenters in the comment section: one of the things about the internet I love most.​
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
That's awesome. I can't wait to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson's take on Syria.

hahaha - nice one..:)

Incidentally there's a great three parter on Syria from Al Jazeera - almost done it now, highly recommended: "Syria: The Reckoning"
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