#Tomorrow13 An open letter to a BDSeropen letter to Stephen Hawking by Raheem Kassam, the Executive Editor of the Commentator. While it's thankfully not applicable to Hawking, it's applicable to an awful lot of other BDS'ers.
You see, you taught people to question things - but your involvement with the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine reflects that you have either abdicated your commitment to the scientific method, or you simply have abdicated your sense of morality.
I cannot fathom why, if neither of these were true, you would be involved with an organisation which has a director who presided over an entire nation of historically persecuted people being wiped off a map [PDF].
I cannot understand why your pivotal, inner question on the matter seems to have been, "Should I boycott?" rather than, "Why should I boycott?
The answer to both questions of course is easily answered, but it depends on how far beneath the surface you are willing to scratch in order to obtain any semblance of truth on the matter. You could take my word for it, or you could take the words of Al Quds University and the Hebrew University, one Palestinian, and one Israeli organisation in agreement:
"Our position is based upon the belief that it is through cooperation based on mutual respect, rather than through boycotts or discrimination, that our common goals can be achieved. Bridging political gulfs – rather than widening them further apart –between nations and individuals thus becomes an educational duty as well as a functional necessity, requiring exchange and dialogue rather than confrontation and antagonism"
You see, it was like very likes of your work that helped me break through a regurgitative stupor. I stopped believing what I read in chain e-mails, I began to question what even the loftiest of news organisations and non-governmental organisations told me. You and many others made me realise that everyone has their own agenda, and my response should not be to shun things, but to get to the bottom of the issues for myself, attempting to leave a positive impact along the way. Something I could say I "achieved".
So I did, for example, here.
Professor Hawking, I believe you might once have said that science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion. But much like science, morality cannot be solely about romance and passion - it must also and primarily be about reason.
I fear that in failing to uphold your commitments to the Facing Tomorrow conference in Israel, you are abandoning reason, and operating solely on the basis of misplaced passions, and romantic notions of solidarity with anti-Israel campaigners. I believe this to be an abandonment of the very basis upon which academia and science is founded.
Read the whole thing.