Much has been written over the past few days about Professor Stephen Hawking’s decision to withdraw from the President’s Conference in Israel. His decision to pull out was taken in response to a request from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) an organisation which deems Israel to be the sole perpetrator of all the evil in the world.
The BDS has been active in the UK for a long time, particularly in the world of academia and has tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to organise cultural boycotts when Israeli artistic companies have visited Britain. These activities, whilst they have generated some publicity have mostly gone unnoticed by the British public at large.
This time however, because of Stephen Hawking’s name and reputation, his decision to acquiesce to BDS demands has received massive publicity. BDS of course consider this a triumph, but is it?
Every article I have read and every comment I have heard has been highly critical, not just of Hawking but of BDS too. Just today there has been another article in The Times, this time by Daniel Johnson of Standpoint. Johnson notes that Hawking has spoken in Iran and China, those bastions of liberal democracy; and he makes no bones about the ultimate objective of BDS, which is nothing less than the elimination of the State of Israel. All of these articles have exposed the hypocrisy of the BDS movement in singling out Israel alone for such treatment and raised the probability that behind it is plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism. They all properly point out that Hawking relies on Israeli designed microchip to enable him to communicate which makes him a hypocrite too.
These have been the common threads throughout the week since Hawking’s announcement. I have been waiting a long time to read such widespread denunciations of BDS in the mainstream media and how welcome it is to see it now. My hope is that more people than ever before in this country are aware of BDS and see it for what it is. People who thought it was there to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians now will know better. They will have read and heard that it is a nasty bunch of left-wing, hate filled hypocrites whose sole aim is to wipe the only democracy in the Middle East off the face of the planet.
Maybe, just maybe, BDS’s “triumph” will blow up in its face.