Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and celebrity, has cancelled a planned trip to Israel to participate in a conference sponsored by Israeli President Shimon Peres. His explanation: “I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference.”
It’s an odd world isn’t it? By what inverted moral calculus does someone of Hawking’s stature find it morally problematic to set foot on the soil of the region’s only democracy? One wonders how many other nations has Hawking declined to visit in order to express his disapproval of their policies?