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Noam Chomsky Pushed Stephen Hawking to Boycott Israeli Conference

The veteran supporter of anti-Israel causes joined British academics who shared with Hawking their disappointment with his going to Jerusalem.
Professor Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky of the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT was the force behind a group of 20 academics who lobbied Professor Stephen Hawking to boycott an Israeli conference where he was expected to be a keynote speaker, the Guardian reported. (See: Stephen Hawking Boycotting Company Working on his Cure and Resolved: Cambridge U ‘Misunderstood,’ Hawking Actually Hates Israel.)

Chomsky, a veteran supporter of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian causes, joined British academics from the universities of Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, York and the Open University to who all shared with Hawking how “surprised and deeply disappointed” they were that he had accepted the invitation to speak at next month’s presidential conference in Jerusalem, which will chaired by Shimon Peres and attended by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

On Friday the liberal academic David Newman, dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Ben Gurion University in Israel, warned that the academic boycott “just destroys one of the very few spaces left where Israelis and Palestinians actually do come together.”

Incidentally, the boycott on Israeli goods hurts thousands of Palestinian farm workers, and the boycott on Israeli tourism hurts thousands of Arabs working in that industry. But they make leftist Europeans and Americans feel better, and, after all, that’s what really counts.

But Chomsky, an old-time backer of “boycott and divestment of firms that are carrying out operations in the occupied territories,” was not concerned with gray shades, and to prove just how righteous he is, he added his considerable weight to the pressure on Hawking, according to Jonathan Rosenhead, chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine campaign group (BRICUP).

The letter to Hawking was in the ancient spirit of “It all started after Israel retaliated. It pointed out that Israel’s “treatment of the people of Gaza amounts to ‘collective punishment,’” meaning that should an Arab terrorist shoot a rocket at your children’s kindergarten, but he does it from the midst of his housing project, you are not permitted to fire back, lest you be guilty of collective punishment.

Just lie back and enjoy it, seems to be the BRICUP general attitude.

The letter also repeated the age old lie that “the construction of Jewish settlements breaches the Geneva convention” – it doesn’t, since the GC deals with areas occupied from a sovereign owner and no power had a recognized sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, or Gaza.

Finally, the letter accused Israel of placing “multiple roadblocks, physical, financial and legal, in the way of higher education, both for its own Palestinian citizens and those under occupation.” That may be the most terrible lie of them all, since no other Arab country even comes close to the number of institutions of higher education in the territories, as well as the percentage of academics among Arab citizens of Israel.

It is stunning that while in the rest of the region half the population, namely women, can’t walk freely in public, much less attain higher education, the one country those bizarre little men and women are attacking is the Israeli democracy.

Their letter had something to say about all that positive hogwash, too: “Israel has a name for the promotion of its cultural and scientific standing: ‘Brand Israel.’ This is a deliberate policy of camouflaging its oppressive acts behind a cultured veneer.”

In other words, don’t confuse us with all those “facts” about Israeli achievements, and Arab progress within the Israeli system – we all know it’s nothing but a lie.

Many of us have experienced the dubious pleasure of arguing with these characters and their hordes of disciples. You can’t reason with them because they’re not interested in reason. They are intellectually violent leftists.

Tom Hickey, a member of the UCU’s executive committee who put forward the draft motion, told the Guardian: “It is brave of Hawking for the straightforward reason that someone who has his prominence will be targeted for vilification. If he can do that then all of us should think of doing it. This isn’t about targeting Israeli scholars but targeting the institutions.”

Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS who studies philosophy at Tel Aviv University, told the Guardian that Hawking’s decision to withdraw from the conference in the country that facilitates Barghouti’s career “is one of the starkest indicators yet that the tide is changing in the western mainstream against Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid, and that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is fast reaching its South Africa moment of maturity and impact.”

British author Ian McEwan, who was criticized two years ago when he visited Israel to accept the Jerusalem Prize, said: “My feeling [in 2011] was that I wished to engage with the best elements of Israeli society and I don’t want to isolate those people,” he said.

He said there were dozens of countries “whose governments we might loathe or disapprove of” but “Israel-Palestine has become sort of tribal and a touchstone for a certain portion of the intellectual classes. I say this in the context of thinking it is profoundly wrong of the Israeli government not to be pursuing more actively and positively and creatively a solution with the Palestinians. That’s why I think one wants to go to these places to make the point. Turning away will not produce any result.”

And he’s, supposedly, Israel’s friend…

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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24 Responses to “Noam Chomsky Pushed Stephen Hawking to Boycott Israeli Conference”

  1. Myriam Obadia says:

    So, not only is Chomsky hopelessly and stubbornly teaching erroneous theories in Linguistics, he is doing the same in International Affairs.

  2. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    No shock here. If chomsky had his way, Auschwitz would be started up again.

  3. Chomsky's an idiot.

  4. Joel Zelnik says:

    Chomsky is a self hating Jew who is a shill for radical islam

  5. I don't think Chomsky anti-Semitic. I do believe he doesn't approve of the way Palestinians are being treated. Gaza Strip resembles a concentration camp. Chomsky, and Dr.Hawkings are just two of MANY ivy scholars from ALL around the world who signed that boycott. Good for them

  6. Anonymous says:

    BEWARE of Islam – Nasim Ben Iman, Apostate from Islam in Germany warns the West.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u9BNpLThqA&feature=youtu.be DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  7. Don't you just love the piece about how the boycotts effect Palestinian and arab workers.
    The exact same excuse leveled against the South African boycot back in the day.

  8. Don't you just love the piece about how the boycotts effect Palestinian and arab workers.
    The exact same excuse leveled against the South African boycot back in the day.

  9. Carolin Knox says:

    Disgusting, the lot of them.

  10. Cody Flecker says:

    What is this nonsense about Omar Barghouti studying at Tel Aviv University.

    It is time that the Jews started a boycott of those that are promoting the BDS Movement. This includes countries like Great Britain that encourage this support. No more travel to countries that support an active anti semitic and anti Israel agenda.

  11. Tom Umland says:

    How in the H_ can you call this guy a Jew? I'll stick with Boged until Noam proves otherwise.

  12. Gil Gilman says:

    I know my bio on Facebook reveals that I studied Mathematics at the university. Actually I have degrees Mathematics, Linguistics, and Psychology. The linguistic part of my brain is shocked to hear that Chomsky is still teaching linguistics. Is he? As far as I'm concerned he was a shining light in his day, and did groundbreaking work. Of course, many of his ideas have become outmoded and even proven fallacious. He has no exclusivity in that. What IS wrong is that both Chomsky and Hawking have left their areas of expertise, and delved into areas where they have none, and in which they do not bring the same rigorous analysis and synthesis to bear. Beyond that, I must ask again, who cares? They only have the credibility lent to them by gullible individuals. There are many better Linguists out there, as there are numerous Physicists that can go a round or two with Hawking in mental gymnastics. Must we be continually in the process of re-debunking every weak idea that comes our way?

  13. Ik can imagine how Balfour who worked so hard to get Britain to agree to give the Jewish people the Palestinian area under its Mandate that included Jordan as well as the so-called Palestinian occupied area, is probably turning over in his grave with horror at what the greatest of Jewish Traitors is doing to his own people in Israel and around the world.

  14. Ethan Perks says:

    Noam Chomsky is not a Jew. A Jew is someone who believes they are Jews and act like they're Jews. Chomsky is a hate filled anti-Semite who could not hate Jews more if he was a nazi or Islamist. I for one am tired of labeling as Jews rabid Jew haters who may have been born Jews, or have a Jewish parent or grandparent. Being a Jew, Reformed, Conservative or Orthodox is a state of mind. Even the non observant. Chomsky ain't one of US!

  15. Ethan Perks says:

    Gil; One can feel empathy for Hawking. He's ill and was under enormous pressure. Chomsky is a hate filled demigog by whose own words would shed no tear if Israel was destroyed, her people slaughtered. Or does he think the Arabs don't mean it. They once thought that about the nazis.

  16. Ken Kelso says:

    Chomsky suported Khmer Rouge and denied that Khmer Rouge killed anyone when they ruled Cambodia.
    Chomsky is a Cambodia holocaust denier.
    http://jim.com/chomsdis.htm
    Chomsky lies: denial of the Khmer Rouge holocaust in Cambodia.

  17. Ken Kelso says:

    Omar Barghouti is the fascist racist.
    There are less then 9000 Jews in the 22 countries, while there are 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel.
    Israel existed 1500 years before Mohammad married his 9 year old bride.
    Barghout is upset that Israel is not under the control of Palestinian nazis who slaughter Israeli civilians on buses, shopping centers, disco's, pizzeria's and passover seders. Palmediawatch has documented the Nazis the Terrorstinstians are. http://www.palwatch.org

  18. If any of you actually bothered to read any of Chomsky's work, you'll know that he does not hate Israel, or its people. He targets his criticisms to that of the government's policy towards Palestine. Hes said that time and time again and yet people who don't like what hes got to say (which is basically the international consensus) personally attack him with falsehoods.
    The Israeli government's policy towards Palestine has been found to be a breach of International law and the human rights of the Palestinian people – time and time again. Israel's military capacity far outweighs that of Palestine, and yet Israeli commentary, and that of the America, Britain and Australia, present it as an equal and two sided fight – which its far from being. When you push crushed people into a corner, force them out of their own homes, and build a wall to prevent them coming back, you must expect retaliation. What the Israel government is doing, essentially amounts to terrorism.
    Israel's government won't listen to the International consensus that what its actions are doing are illegal and a breach on the basic human rights of the Palestinian people, so social justice and humanitarian advocates will look for other ways of trying to change its opinion. Asking, not forcing, a prominent intellectual to support a boycott is one such strategy.
    As for news, does this website actually present an objective and non-emotional analysis of anything to do with Palestine? If you're going to write an opinion piece, you should at least name it so.

  19. I think my last comment was deleted, so I'll post it again.

    If any of you actually bothered to read any of Chomsky's work, you'll know that he does not hate Israel, or its people. He targets his criticisms to that of the government's policy towards Palestine. Hes said that time and time again and yet people who don't like what hes got to say (which is basically the international consensus) personally attack him with falsehoods.
    The Israeli government's policy towards Palestine has been found to be a breach of International law and the human rights of the Palestinian people – time and time again. Israel's military capacity far outweighs that of Palestine, and yet Israeli commentary, and that of the America, Britain and Australia, present it as an equal and two sided fight – which its far from being. When you push crushed people into a corner, force them out of their own homes, and build a wall to prevent them coming back, you must expect retaliation. What the Israel government is doing, essentially amounts to terrorism.
    Israel's government won't listen to the International consensus that what its actions are doing are illegal and a breach on the basic human rights of the Palestinian people, so social justice and humanitarian advocates will look for other ways of trying to change its opinion. Asking, not forcing, a prominent intellectual to support a boycott is one such strategy.
    As for news, does this website actually present an objective and non-emotional analysis of anything to do with Palestine? If you're going to write an opinion piece, you should at least name it so.

  20. The problem is with Hawking senility….Another senile, the evil Chmomsky, was able to reset the mind of Hawking…

  21. Gil Gilman says:

    Agreed. However, his illness can not be used as an excuse for bad thinking, or giving way to pressure. His illness has caused him physical distress, but his mental faculties are still capable of functioning, and he should use them. Perhaps i am incorrect, but i don't believe that those with disabilities really want a there…there…what they want is to be recognized for the abilities they have. I myself am in constant pain because of neuropathy, I must endure it because the remedy is worse than the illness, but it hasn't impaired my ability to place two logical words next to each other in an idea. The trouble is that there is very little open and honest debate over issues of disagreement, only mud slinging and innuendo, not even up to the level of logical fallacies. Yes I do empathize with his ALS and associated difficulties, but that doesn't mean I empathize with his succumbing to browbeating if that is what it is, and not mere ego manipulation. There is that motive in academia that says, "if you don't acknowlege W & X & Y, but instead substitute J or I or Z, you are not towing the party line, and are thus not a certified member of the intelligensia. I reject that concept. Let every reality stand on it's own two legs without sophistry.

  22. It also showsthe fact that the most intelligent man in the world is a coward, and that he doesn't think for himself.

  23. Samir Halabi says:

    1,000,000 Jews of the Arab-World no more, Professor Hawkings should maybe think about that aswell.

  24. Samir Halabi says:

    Professor 'Mhompsky' (Mompster-Momser & Monster) is the worst type of Jew-hater 'A self-hating Jew'.

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