Stephen Hawking Boycotts Israel 'On the Advice of Palestinian Academics'

Extremely sad and disappointing news from Cambridge University.

JERUSALEM: Stephen Hawking has pulled out of a high-profile conference to be held in Jerusalem in June to support an academic boycott of Israel, conference organisers and the university said on Wednesday.

The academic and cultural boycott, organised by international activists to protest against Israel's policies toward the Palestinians, is a heated and contentious issue; having the renowned physicist and cosmologist join it is likely to help the anti-Israel campaigners significantly.

"Never has a scientist of this stature boycotted Israel," said Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry.

Organisers of the fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, held under the auspices of President Shimon Peres, said they had received a letter over the weekend from Professor Hawking announcing his decision.

Cambridge University issued a statement indicating that Professor Hawking had told the Israelis he would not be attending "based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott", Associated Press reported.

Looks like Hawking can't sort good advice from bad. The boycott is aimed, ultimately, at killing academic freedom.