Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rod Liddle on Hawking in Sunday Times

 (Sunday, May 12, 2013)

The behaviour of Stephen Hawking has become as confusing as that of those fairly small particles he gets so excited about, muons and bosons and the like. Perhaps he, too, is capable of being in two places at the same time; one where he is a brilliant and compelling communicator, then the other where he is nothing but a shallow conduit for the hysterical and fascistic academic left.

A statement issued on his behalf explained that he was persuaded by Palestinian colleagues to boycott an academic conference taking place in Israel, because of its policies towards the Palestinians. Right on, Stevie!

I wonder what Hawking’s hero, the late mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing would have thought of this. A short while ago, Hawking was a leading signatory to a campaign for Turing to be posthumously pardoned — he had been convicted of homosexuality 60 years ago.

Turing would get 10 years in prison in Gaza today, although there is a healthy penal reform lobby within the mosques who think this sentence should be non-custodial — that is, it should be changed to death by stoning followed by being doused in Allah’s cleansing fires for eternity. Indeed, Hawking is boycotting one of the only states in the region where Turing would not have been imprisoned on account of his sexuality. Peculiar, isn’t it? Unless on that occasion — as on this — Hawking was just grandstanding for a fashionable cause.

Or perhaps it’s this: maybe Hawking, who has motor neurone disease and uses a wheelchair, finds Hamas’s non-discriminatory jihadist spirit amenable. The group is determined to afford mentally disabled Palestinians a certain prominence in the fight against the Zionist entity by strapping Semtex to their bodies and cheerfully pointing them in the direction of the Israelis. Hamas will use children and women for the same purpose.

Professor Hawking has a problem, mind. He uses an astonishing speech-generation device that has made his voice recognisable the world over. Its most important component is a fiendishly clever silicon chip that was designed in . . . yes, Israel. It is not clear how Hawking will square this problem. Perhaps he will protest against himself.

The Boycott Israel crowd are gaining ground, there’s no doubt about that. A few years ago, a loathsome woman called Mona Baker, then head of translation studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, sacked two contributors to an academic journal because they were Israeli. She explained that they could no longer be employed seeing what beastly Israel was doing to the brave, democratic and liberal Palestinians.

There was widespread revulsion at this act, which seemed an example of infantile leftism mixed with a hefty dose of anti-semitism. But since then, partly through bullying and partly because academics are even more gullible than the rest of us, the movement has enjoyed a certain respectability.

It shouldn’t. It is foul, cruel and illogical. And why boycott Israel and not Iran, or North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe? Why persecute Israeli academics who may well themselves object to their government’s policies in the West Bank? Professor Hawking — still brilliant, and still loved, just about — should be deeply ashamed of himself.


  1. Time to invite Ron Liddle to Israel and ensure a loving audience!!!!

  2. Amen! At last someone dares to speak out and tell the truth