Israeli right-wing flys off the deep end following Hawking boycott

on 78 Comments

As can be imagined there have been a wide range of Israeli responses to Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott the Israeli Presidential conference. While it would be a stretch to imagine a majority of Israelis would support the move, the baseness of some of the right wing responses is still rather shocking.

Israeli Presidential Conference Chairman, Israel Maimon issued a response on Facebook:

 “the academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.”

Settler news service Arutz Sheva asks “Would Stephen Hawking Survive Under an Arab Regime?“:

Professor Hawking certainly knows that researchers at Tel Aviv University have launched clinical trials on a revolutionary new technology intended to protect the human brain from neurodegenerative disorders such as the one from which the famous scientist suffers and that at Ben Gurion University, they have found an enzyme that so far delays Lou Gehrig’s disease in mice.

Would Professor Hawking boycott a possible Israeli breakthrough in treating the disease?

Or more to the point –

Would Professor Hawking ever survive in any Arab country or under the Palestinian autocracy he shamefully defends?

While in the Arab world disabled people have been called “the invisibles,” because they are segregated and hidden from the public eye, Israel’s work with illness and disabilities would merit a book in itself.

The Israeli “lawfare” organization Shurat HaDin takes the cake. The organization called on Hawking to “pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet” which enables him to communicate because the chip was designed by a Israeli lab.

The Guardian reports:

According to Shurat HaDin, an Israel law centre which represents victims of terrorism, the equipment has been provided by the hi-tech firm, Intel, since 1997.

“Hawking’s decision to join the boycott of Israel is quite hypocritical for an individual who prides himself on his whole intellectual accomplishment. His whole computer-based communications system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. I suggest if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin.

Intel could not be reached for comment, but their website quotes Justin Rattner, chief technology officer, as saying earlier this year: “We have a long-standing relationship with Professor Hawking.” He added: “We are very pleased to continue to … work closely with Professor Hawking on improving his personal communication system.”

It hasn’t just been the right-wing that has lashed out at Hawking. Liberal Zionist Haaretz writer Carlo Strenger takes Hawking to task in an open letter:

Professor Hawking: how can you and your colleagues who argue for an academic boycott of Israel justify your double standard by singling out Israel? You are simply denying that Israel has been under existential threat for most of its existence. To this day Hamas, one of the two major parties in Palestine, calls for Israel’s destruction, and its charter employs the vilest anti-Semitic language. To this day hardly a week goes by in which Iran and its proxy Hezbollah do not threaten to obliterate Israel, even though they have no direct conflict with Israel about anything.

Singling Israel out for academic boycott is, I believe, a case of profound hypocrisy. It is a way to ventilate outrage about the world’s injustices where the cost is low. I’m still waiting for the British academic who says he won’t cooperate with American institutions as long as Guantanamo is open, or as long as the U.S. continues targeted assassinations.

In addition to the hypocrisy, singling out Israel’s academia is pragmatically unwise, to put it mildly. Israel’s academia is largely liberal in its outlook, and many academics here have opposed Israel’s settlement policies for decades. But once again, British academics choose the easiest target to vent their rage in a way that does not contribute anything constructive to the Palestinian cause they support.

+972’s Noam Sheizaf responds to Strenger in a strong post titled “Stephen Hawking’s message to Israeli elites: The occupation has a price“:

I will not go into all of Strenger’s rationalizations for the occupation – his claims that the Palestinians answered Israel’s generous peace offers with the second Intifada; that as long as Hamas is in power there is nobody to talk to, that Israel is fighting for its survival against an existential threat, and so on. I don’t think that a fact-based historical analysis supports any of these ideas, but Strenger is entitled to his view. If you think the occupation is justified, or at least inevitable, you obviously see any action against it as illegitimate and uncalled for.

Yet the thing that made Prof. Strenger jump is not “any action” but rather something very specific – the academic boycott. Personally, I think that his text mostly portrays a self-perception of innocence. Israel, according to Strenger, doesn’t deserve to be boycotted and the “liberal academics” – like himself – specifically, don’t deserve it because they “oppose the occupation.”

At this point in time, I think it’s impossible to make such distinctions. The occupation – which will celebrate 46 years next month – is obviously an Israeli project, to which all elements of society contribute and from which almost all benefit. The high-tech industry’s connection to the military has been widely discussed, the profit Israeli companies make exploiting West Bank resources is documented and the captive market for Israeli goods in the West Bank and Gaza is known. Strenger’s own university cooperates with the army in various programs, and thus contributes its own share to the national project.

I would also say that at this point in time, paying lip service to the two state-solution while blaming the Palestinians for avoiding peace cannot be considered opposing to the occupation, unless you want to include Lieberman and Netanyahu in the peace camp. We should be asking ourselves questions about political action as opposed to discussing our views: where do we contribute to the occupation and what form of actions do we consider legitimate in the fight against it?
Prof. Stephen Hawking responded to a Palestinian call for solidarity. This is also something to remember – that the oppressed have opinions too, and that empowering them is a worthy cause. In Strenger’s world, the occupation is a topic of internal political discussion among the Jewish-Israeli public. Some people support it, some people – more – are against it; the Palestinians should simply wait for the tide to change since “it is very difficult for Israeli politicians to convince Israelis to take risks for peace.” And what happens if Israelis don’t chose to end the occupation? (Which is exactly what they are doing, over and over again.) I wonder what form of Palestinian opposition to the occupation Prof. Strenger considers legitimate. My guess: none (code phrase: “they should negotiate for peace”).

It’s well worth reading the whole post here

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78 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    May 9, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Just stands to show that criticizing Israel is forbidden.

    It speaks volumes when a state gets angry when people take a stance against warcrimes, that says more about Israel than its critics. Does it mean Israel are allowed to commit warcrimes? Does it mean people should be forbiddent to criticize and boycott Israel?

    The issue is that these “journalists” put themselves above others. Why is it ok to boycott other regimes but not Israel? Are they saying that Israel(is) are above the law? Yes it seems so.

  2. stopaipac
    May 9, 2013, 12:30 pm

    We do have to admit that Israel has proven, time after time, its “enlightened” views toward women, children, and the disabled. When oppressing Palestinians, it has in no way held back brutality against anyone, without regard to their gender, color, national origin, physical abilities, even age. It attacks men and women, adults and children, straights and gays, abled and disabled with equal impunity.
    Motazz Obeidu, 32, was “seriously wounded by Israeli army gunfire during an arrest operation” at dawn, the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club said on Thursday, describing him as “physically disabled” although it did not say how.

  3. Shmuel
    May 9, 2013, 12:47 pm

    “Stephen Hawking’s message to Israeli elites: The occupation has a price”

    That is the message of the academic boycott in general to the Israeli elites: Your colleagues, mentors and students — people for whom you have deep respect and admiration — are outraged by Israeli policies and long-standing intransigence, and wish to express solidarity with their (and your) Palestinian colleagues, by not crossing their picket line. As more and more academics, like Stephen Hawking, join the boycott, it will get harder and harder to dismiss them as naive, misinformed, manipulated, hateful or hypocritical.

    The message is that business cannot simply go on as usual in Israeli faculties and labs (as well as at high-profile media events like the “Presidential Conference”), while policies of apartheid and oppression are implemented only a few kilometres (or metres in some cases) away.

  4. Henry Norr
    May 9, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston also has a piece about the rabid reactions of the Israeli right. Another example he gives: Steven Plaut, a professor of business finance and economics at the University of Haifa, wrote “I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!” – a reference to the 1985 incident in which Palestinian fighters commandeered an Italian cruise ship, apparently murdered a disabled American Jewish passenger, and threw his body overboard:

    • Annie Robbins
      May 9, 2013, 2:24 pm

      henry, i wasn’t intending to break out this link but this article from the UK cites a bunch of horrific responses

      Reacting angrily to the Professor’s decision to join the academic boycott, pro-Israeli users voiced their outrage on social media sites.

      “The anti-Semite Stephen Hawking can’t even wipe his own a**,” one sick user posted.

      “He should die already!,” another said, while one user said Professor Hawking – widely considered one of the most intelligent men in the world today – is “also crippled in the head.”

      “Someone should release the hand brake when he’s on a hill,” another vile post read.

      Disgusted users condemned the revolting abuse, describing it as a “festival of hate.”

    • tree
      May 9, 2013, 3:20 pm

      I wonder if any of them mentioned a few notorious cases of the IDF’s treatment of civilians in wheelchairs? And no, I don’t mean Sheik Yassin, who was killed by an Israeli missile along with 9 Palestinian civilians. I’m talking about this, from the IDF attack on Jenin in 2002:

      Fifty-seven year old Kamal Zghair, a wheel-chair bound man, was shot and then run over by IDF tanks on April 10 as he was moving in his wheelchair -equipped with a white flag – down a major road in Jenin. Thirty-seven-year-old Jamal Fayid, a quadriplegic, was crushed to death in the rubble of his home on April 7 after IDf soldiers refused to allow his family to remove hum from their home before a bulldozer destroyed it.

      From Human Rights Watch

  5. kma
    May 9, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Maimon’s response is that Israel’s superior “democracy” allows victims to express their opinions while they are being ethnically cleansed… what a riot!

    The other responses all reduce to claims of Israel’s greatness because of an Intel chip and they are actually trying to ERASE the human being Stephen Hawking (!)
    to hide their guilt from themselves…

  6. seafoid
    May 9, 2013, 1:21 pm

    The reactions of both Strenger and chemi Shalyev were the most interesting.

    They are what pass for liberal in Israel. And they say “it is the only Jewish state”. “It is not as bad as South Africa”. “there is no apartheid in pre 67 israel”. “Please love us.”

    Israel died in 1967. It was replaced by Erez Israel. Ariel, Maalah Adumim, Kiryat Arba, Gilo, Pisgat Zeev etc were all built for an eternal Jewish empire in the OT. Karl Rove told the liberals of the US “we make our own reality” around 2003. The bots have been living this meme since the Yishuv.

    And now time is catching up with them.

    Last August the (Jewish) UK ambassador to Israel told the bots the truth- Israel is losing support in the UK because of the settlers.

    But the bots didn’t listen. They never do. Nothing makes it through the Hebrew bubble. They thought BDS would never work.

    The West Bank is a trap that Israel walked into in 1967. Nobody else is to blame.

    Now it’s time to face the music. There are just a handful of people in Israel who can see what’s coming. People like Sheizaf, Levy, Hass. The Israeli masses have no idea.

    The Diaspora could have stopped the madness but never did. It was always easier to stay schtum. The Dersh can’t do anything now either. Hasbara is dead.

    The pity of it all.

  7. pabelmont
    May 9, 2013, 1:21 pm

    An Israeli claim: “Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.”

    Interesting. and yet, as I (mis?) understand it, one can be severely punished by the verdict of an Israeli court of law for advocating boycott (that’s “advocating”, not ‘imposing”). So this high-principled speaker, cheering Israel’s “democracy” precisely in the context of boycott, seems to have got it wrong.

    Gosh. Did he make a mistake, or was the claim of Israeli democracy and freedom to express all opinions a deliberate obfuscation? (Or does he merely mean, you are free to say what you want, but, of course, there might be costs associated with saying certain things.)

    • Ron Edwards
      May 9, 2013, 3:13 pm

      Review the Basic Law documents currently pretending to be a constitution in Israel:, specifically the sections about “Freedom of Occupation,” and “Human Dignity and Liberty.” A new law may ignore Freedom of Occupation if approved by a majority vote in the Knesset. In Human Dignity and Liberty, see #8: “There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required.” Those values which permit violations of this section are the “Jewish and democratic” nature of the state. So unless you can convince a majority of the Knesset that you are 100% on board with that claim, violating your rights of Human Dignity and Liberty is flatly legal.

      So no: Israel is *not* a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be.” Unless by “free” you mean “as long as you don’t mind all the legal protection for your human dignity and liberty instantly being suspended.”

      As long as we’re being technical, sure, Israel is a democracy, because at *some* point in its governmental processes, votes are involved. That’s all “democracy” means. The sooner we stop letting people use it as a code-word for “ur-form of government” or “one of the best-and-pure nations” or “functioning justice system,” the better.

  8. JohnAdamTurnbull
    May 9, 2013, 1:59 pm

    I know it’s irrelevant, but I can’t resist: the Intel core i7 was designed by a team in Hillsboro Oregon. It’s a standard, commercial chip manufactured in many countries — maybe even Israel.

    • Ron Edwards
      May 9, 2013, 2:51 pm

      @ JohnAdamTurnbull,

      That’s not irrelevant at all! Hasbara thrives on readers’ failure to fact-check, and their vile insinuation that Dr. Hawkings owes his quality-of-life to Israel needs to be scuttled by the truth. You may have posted the most important reply in this topic.

      There’s a general point here as well, the constant claim that Israel is elite in all sorts of modern ways: finance, social justice, science, and more, including that whole “totally kick-ass but totally moral army” thing. It stinks of old-school Anglo-Brit so bad that I wonder why it’s not called out more often: the same old “ten beef-fed Englishman is worth ten fuzzy-wuzzies any day,” and that’s *all* it is.

      Given a constant dose of this nonsense through exactly such statements as this i7 chip reference generates a widespread *unexamined* concept of Israel as a “high” culture, an “advanced” nation … even in the minds of those who are offended by the direct sentiment expressed toward Hawkings or wonder if the IDF aren’t excessive, but don’t really grasp the history. That concept leads such readers to write off the offensiveness as “momentary thoughtlessness born out of emotion in an individual or two,” or the military excess as “fog of war” or “anyway, fighting terrorists.” It’s exceptionalism pure and simple.

      Again, thanks for that post. A supporting link would be greatly appreciated.

      For those who might be wondering, the name “Nehalem” for the specific microarchitecture in the i7 isn’t Hebrew; it’s Pacific Coast Native American.

      • American
        May 9, 2013, 3:07 pm

        @ Ron

        Peruse the MW archives to see the 1001 Israeli claims that have been debunked here…..everything from the invention of cherry tomatoes and irrigation and solar, to cell phones ,to robots , to brain chips for paralyzed limbs, to life saving drugs. ………if it exist the Israelis will claim they invented it…

      • gamal
        May 9, 2013, 7:01 pm

        these outrageous claims all started with Hamas (hummus?) and Falafel.

      • tree
        May 9, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Commenter Harry Law provided more information on an early post about Hawking:

        The i7 was designed by Intel’s architecture design team in Hillsboro Oregon. The claims the i7 was designed in Israel are also lies.

        For the i7 in particular, the Sr. Principal Engineer’s name is Ronak Singhal. He is an Indian. The design team does not consist of Israelis and is not located in Israel.

        Hawking’s sentence construction software, EZ Keys, was designed and built by an american company, Words Plus, which was based in Palmdale, California. Hawkings speech synthesizer, NeoSpeech, is produced by a company based in Fremont, California and backed by Voiceware Co of Korea. It has nothing to do with Israel either.

        Hawking’s laptop which ran the software used AMD chips. This was an embarrassment to Intel. Intel’s CEO at the time Gordon Moore (now retired) personally negotiated with Prof. Hawking to participate in a marketing arrangement where Hawking would use Intel provided off-the-shelf laptops sothat they could claim he used Intel equipment. The financial details of this arrangement are private, but it is a marketing expense for Intel. Intel’s Portland team flies out to England each year to check on things. Because they kept asking Hawking if they could build him something custom for this (since none of the software or hardware was actually made by Intel, the laptops were built in China), they designed and built a small audio amplifier that was louder than the one he used previously. This could also have been replaced with an off the shelf amplifier as well, but it is the basis for Intel’s claims to have contributed custom hardware. None of the Portland team that visits Prof. Hawking is Israeli either.

      • Henry Norr
        May 9, 2013, 6:23 pm

        That’s fascinating – thanks Tree and especially HarryLaw for posting.

        With regard to the design of the Core i7, though, the picture is actually a little complicated. It’s true that the original Core i7, codenamed Nehalem, was designed by the Hillsboro, Oregon, group. (Among many other sources, see the Intel-produced video “Making of Intel Core i7.”) But:

        a) the Nehalem microarchitecture, though it had some real advances, was a step on an evolutionary line that runs back through the earlier Core designs back to the Pentium M, a.k.a. Centrino, which was developed at Intel’s Haifa design center (and was codenamed Banias, a spring and archaeological site in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights). That chip actually saved Intel’s bacon, so to speak – their previous flagship product, the Pentium 4, turned out to be a bust.

        b) Since the original, Hillsboro-designed i7, there have been two subsequent generations bearing the same marketing name, codenamed Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, and those were designed and managed out of Haifa. In fact, Sandy Bridge originally had a Hebrew codename, as explained in this choice tidbit from an Intel website:

        Originally the project was called “Gesher,” which in Hebrew means “bridge,” explained project manager Shlomit Weiss from Intel’s Israel Development Center in Haifa where the new chip architecture was designed. “During a meeting with analysts, Sean Maloney was asked, ‘How come you have a project named Gesher? Do you want it to be unsuccessful like the former Gesher [political] party in Israel?’”

        Shortly after the meeting, Maloney, Intel executive vice president, asked the legal department to change the project name, wanting nothing to do with a failed breakaway political party that eventually dissolved. And so was born, in short order, the codename “Sandy Bridge.”

        Intel is introducing a fourth generation of the i7 (and i5) next month, and it’s my understanding that Hillsboro was the lead for that design, although I’m sure Haifa played some role and some of the manufacturing will be done in Intel’s Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat, Israel (which was, incidentally, the subject of the column that led to the end of my career in tech journalism).

        Overall, there’s no denying that Israelis have played a key role in Intel’s fortunes, especially over the last decade. In fact, the former head of the Haifa design center, David Perlmutter (who goes by “Dadi”) has been promoted all the way to “Executive Vice President; General Manager, Intel Architecture Group; Chief Product Officer.” Recently he was supposedly a contender for the CEO job, but he didn’t get it.

        Needless to say, none of this excuses Shurat HaDin’s sick comments about Stephen Hawking – nor, above all, 65 years of ethnic cleansing!

      • JohnAdamTurnbull
        May 9, 2013, 7:31 pm

        Didn’t notice Harry Law’s earlier post with more information. Thanks Harry.

        What I meant by “irrelevant” is that you could also make the argument that taking an Aspirin during World War II was hypocritical because it was German chemists who synthesized the chemicals in willow bark — and pretty much everything else in the chemical industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


      • Pamela Olson
        May 10, 2013, 12:29 am

        Henry, tell us the story if you can of how that excellent column ended your career in tech journalism. I’m collecting these types of stories — data points — to shore up my next book, “Palestine, DC.” (I don’t have to tell your precise story in the book, but the more stories I have in my head, the better it is for me, if that makes sense.)

      • Ira Glunts
        May 10, 2013, 3:29 pm


        To me your piece is glorious and suicidal. You have my complete admiration. I am surprised that the SF Chronicle published it. Maybe your editor was unaware of the politics involved. Still, I am astounded that it is still resident at the website of the paper.

        I think that article should be a post, with maybe a little back story added.

      • Shingo
        May 13, 2013, 10:30 am

        Needless to say, none of this excuses Shurat HaDin’s sick comments about Stephen Hawking – nor, above all, 65 years of ethnic cleansing!

        Nor is anything you said relevant, while it is informative.

        As has been pointed out:

        1. Hawking was using a laptop with an AMD processor, and was wooed by Intel to switch.
        2. The i7 in his laptop is certain to be an older processor

        So to sum up, Hawking does not rely on Israeli technology in any way. In fact, by making such hay out of this issue, Hawking may decide to switch back to AMD.

        That would be killing two birds with one stone wouldn’t it?

  9. Kathleen
    May 9, 2013, 2:30 pm

    going to come back later and read the whole thing. wondering if anyone knows how we can directly support Hawking? Wondering if Anna Baltzer will be doing a petition of some kind to thank and support his stance?

  10. HarryLaw
    May 9, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Ron Edwards @ “A supporting link would be greatly appreciated.” I made a comment on the Adam Horowitz posting yesterday on this subject, in it, I referenced another comment by Cowboy coder, in “The Inquirer” [“Israelis want Stephen Hawkins to Boycott Israel”] the comment was reprinted in full in my comment, hope that helps a bit.

  11. jimby
    May 9, 2013, 5:53 pm

    I did some checking on the Intel references. Intel has nearly 100,000 employees of which 8,00 reside in Israel. I also noted a statistic that claimed that it is the largest private employer in Israel. Well what the heck does everyone else do? Do they sell latkes and knishes on the street corners?

  12. DICKERSON3870
    May 9, 2013, 6:47 pm

    RE: “Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be.” ~ Israeli Presidential Conference Chairman, Israel Maimon

    MY COMMENT: Israel Maimon must be delusional!

    SEE: “Israel law targets boycott campaigns”, By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times, 7/12/11
    The new law will penalize those who organize or back political boycotts against Israel, including campaigns aimed at its universities and businesses in the West Bank. Critics say the law may not withstand a court challenge.

    [EXCERPTS] Reporting from Jerusalem — Israel’s right-leaning parliament approved a hotly disputed law Monday that will penalize those who organize or publicly endorse political boycotts against the country, including campaigns directed at Israeli universities, settlements and businesses in the West Bank.
    Critics, including several prominent Israeli politicians, newspaper columnists and the parliament’s legal advisor, questioned whether the law would withstand a Supreme Court challenge, saying it probably violates the right to free speech and free expression. . .


  13. ToivoS
    May 9, 2013, 6:55 pm

    This hysterical reaction on the part of Israelis, especially many of the liberal Zionists, is an encouraging sign. The message from BDS seems to be percolating through their thick skulls. Of course, the initial reaction will be to circle the wagons and become even more fanatically expansionist — that is a normal psychological response. But it is a sign that the message is beginning to penetrate. Perhaps it will result in some sober reflection, if not today then maybe later.

    • seafoid
      May 10, 2013, 4:12 am

      The Hawking story will have made it onto the international news pages of papers all over the world. I was thinking about the Hindustan times and the main dailies in south America. If it bleeds it leads. And the bots have lost control of the narrative.

  14. DICKERSON3870
    May 9, 2013, 7:08 pm

    RE: “Professor Hawking certainly knows that researchers at Tel Aviv University have launched clinical trials on a revolutionary new technology intended to protect the human brain from neurodegenerative disorders such as the one from which the famous scientist suffers… Israel’s work with illness and disabilities would merit a book in itself.” ~ Arutz Sheva

    MY RHETORICAL QUESTION: The world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant was done in apartheid-era South Africa; so, does that mean apartheid is A-ok?

  15. DICKERSON3870
    May 9, 2013, 7:27 pm

    RE: “Personally, I think we should put the ‘double standards’ line of defense to rest, since it’s simply an excuse against any form of action.” ~ Noam Sheizaf

    MY COMMENT: The “double standards” mantra is a favorite defense technique used by the “two state fakers”*.

    * REGARDING “TWO STATE FAKERS”, SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman,, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure [like BDS – J.L.D.] that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me. . .


  16. DICKERSON3870
    May 9, 2013, 7:41 pm

    RE: “I will not go into all of Strenger’s rationalizations for the occupation – his claims that the Palestinians answered Israel’s generous peace offers with the second Intifada . . .” ~ Noam Sheizaf

    MY COMMENT: I will! I will! Or, to be more precise, I’ll let the renowned Uri Avnery do it.

    TAKE IT AWAY, URI: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings. A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.
    This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground. . .


  17. Basilio
    May 9, 2013, 8:18 pm

    No matter what these fascist types say, and they are fascists pretending to be liberals who try to call other people anti-Semites when they behave in a fashion that resembles people who were violent anti-Semites, many Jewish academics in the West don’t want to be connected to Israel, either. It’s not like Albert Einstein, when he was alive, really approved of Israel’s behavior, and we’re talking about decades ago. He could see what Israel would become and spoke of it. He saw that the perception of Jews and Judaism would be possible casualties of Israel’s horrible, horrible behavior.
    Israelis should take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming other people.
    It’s part of being mature.

  18. Basilio
    May 9, 2013, 9:38 pm

    No one’s questioning that there are brilliant Jewish scientists in Israel, but there are also many prominent Jewish scientists in America? Israel can’t act as if the only human beings matter are them. Don’t Israelis benefit from inventions that Japanese come up with, and haven’t they benefited from inventions Muslims came up with when they had an advanced civilization? Isn’t it part of being a good human to try to do good. Saying that Israel is helping people who suffer like Hawking is a moral bankrupt position because medicine is supposed to help all humankind, and while Israel talks about that it cares not for the welfare of the Palestinians. It’s not like such a position was easy for Hawking! He has nothing against Israelis, and he has been to many conferences. He just wants to what is right while some have trashed him. Instead of trashing him, do good in our world.

  19. Qualtrough
    May 9, 2013, 11:13 pm

    This brouhaha has brought out the full panoply of hasbara tactics and leads me to a question. Has anyone ever categorized them neatly somewhere? The tried and true ones I have seen used in this episode so far have been:

    1. Pooh-poohing: Initially from a hasbara on another site: It’s not a big deal, what’s the fuss? Doesn’t mean much (He was quick off the gun and probably hadn’t received marching orders yet).
    2. Lies: He didn’t intend this as a boycott, the chips that keep him alive are from Israel, etc.
    3. Whatabouttery: What about the plight of the disabled in Arab countries?
    4. You need to hate them too: Arabs are so much worse than Israelis, Palestinian culture is uniquely evil, etc. This is the one I detest the most, this trying to get others to hate the people you hate.

    Another fav I have seen elsewhere is ‘Na-na, you did it too’: You Americans didn’t treat the Indians nicely so you have no right to talk.

    If this has been done I would appreciate the link, and if not it is something that should be done.

  20. yonah fredman
    May 10, 2013, 12:46 am

    Stephen Hawking has an obvious excuse, but nothing has changed over the last two months and he is an idiot for agreeing to come and then pulling out. (This is dismissing the possibility that he was planning to pull out from the start and his original agreement to come was disingenuous.)

    • yrn
      May 10, 2013, 3:13 am

      This is the main issue with all those who cancel, they all look Idiots, one by one, as if you are pulling out, why bother accepting to come in the first place.
      All loose their integrity, as speak up and mention that you will never come to Israel (Most are not doing it) and not look like an Idiot, especially Roger Waters, that made his $$$$ from performing in Israel and then suddenly mentioned that he want come.
      Now he mentioned that he considers his boycott issue.
      Well makes all this boycott issue look stupid as he is.

    • Shmuel
      May 10, 2013, 3:50 am

      he is an idiot for agreeing to come and then pulling out.

      Hawking explained that he had originally thought that going and talking about the occupation would be the right thing to do (a position taken by many academics and artists who support the Palestinian struggle), but was then asked by Palestinian colleagues to reconsider his decision, and to respect the boycott. He decided to accede to their request. How does that make him an “idiot”?

      • CloakAndDagger
        May 10, 2013, 5:03 am

        …and, not to put too fine a point on it, doing it this way has generated a lot more drama and drawn more attention to this noble act, than if he had merely not acceded in the first place.

        Judging by the hasbarist firestorm, this is cause for glee.

      • yrn
        May 10, 2013, 7:35 am

        What drama did he do……. actions like that just push the debate how nonsense this boycott, Israel had boycotts from day one….. the petrol $$$ country’s at that time thought, that by boycotting company’s who do business in Israel, will help them finish Israel….. did it help, Zero.
        Looks at were the economical situation of the Arab Country’s with all thier petrol $$$$ compared to Israel and you will find your answer.

      • CloakAndDagger
        May 10, 2013, 9:33 am


        What drama did he do…

        No drama? All you hasbarites frothing at the mouth and rushing en masse to smear the man? I am sitting here with popcorn on my lap and loving the show!

      • Djinn
        May 12, 2013, 8:40 am

        Do any of those countries receive over $3 billion per annum in US aid, no interest loans and other financial gifts?

        Why does a nation so technologically & financially brilliant need to be subsidized by US taxpayers? Either Israel is a non sustainable economic basket case OR it’s patently greedy & immoral (or both)

      • yonah fredman
        May 10, 2013, 6:57 am

        Actually Shmuel, he’s a genius and also an idiot. A man with common sense would have scoped out the issue before hand, not been surprised by his Palestinian colleagues. But he’s limited by his condition, so we make excuses for him.

      • Shmuel
        May 10, 2013, 7:30 am


        I wasn’t making excuses, I was asking you what is “idiotic” about thinking one thing, being exposed to new information (colleagues’ opinions, requests), and coming to another conclusion? Would you have thought him an idiot had he declined the invitation at first and then been convinced by Israeli (or Palestinian) colleagues that his ethical and political concerns would be better served by participating and expressing his views at the event itself? I doubt it.

      • Sumud
        May 10, 2013, 8:11 am

        Actually Shmuel, he’s a genius and also an idiot. A man with common sense would have scoped out the issue before hand, not been surprised by his Palestinian colleagues. But he’s limited by his condition, so we make excuses for him.

        Wow! You couldn’t be more condescending if you tried.

      • justicewillprevail
        May 10, 2013, 8:50 am

        What evidence do you have that he was ‘surprised’. He was well aware of the reality of Israeli for plenty of time before this, as he made clear. Really, this is the kind of pathetic, patronising, fictional drivel that hasbarists are reduced to, when they don’t want to acknowledge his principles.

      • Dutch
        May 10, 2013, 11:48 am

        @ yonah

        ‘We are all idiots’.

      • yonah fredman
        May 10, 2013, 10:12 pm

        Shmuel- I’d bet you fifty shekels that Emily Post or whoever is in charge of etiquette these days in the Western world will tell you that it is more inappropriate to accept an invitation and make a big thing out of cancelling it, than it is to reject an invitation and at the last minute change your mind and accept it. Unless Hawkings planned this all from the beginning, which makes it a dastardly clever move, it is appropriate for me to find it gauche for him to not do the appropriate research before accepting the invitation. Gauche is a better word than idiot.

      • libra
        May 11, 2013, 8:51 am

        yf: …it is more inappropriate to accept an invitation and make a big thing out of cancelling it, than it is to reject an invitation and at the last minute change your mind and accept it.

        Thanks for that yonah, I’m always looking to brush up my social skills with etiquette advice from an Israeli.

      • Sumud
        May 11, 2013, 10:58 pm

        Unbelievable: a person who writes about a highly intelligent person with motor neuron disease: “But he’s limited by his condition, so we make excuses for him” then goes on to lecture same person about manners.

    • Cliff
      May 10, 2013, 9:48 am

      There’s nothing disingenuous about what Hawking did. You don’t know him personally and you don’t know who he regards as his friends and what they may have said to him to compel him to withdraw.

      He decided to boycott your racist, apartheid, colonial State and you’re having a hissy fit.

      No different from all the other colonists going nutso because Hawking didn’t bow down before the altar of Zionism.

    • Basilio
      May 10, 2013, 11:30 am

      Many people don’t really give the politics too much thought, Yonah, until someone brings it up. Did you consider that? Some people don’t think about politics 24/7.
      Hawking may not have thought about Israel and politics. He thought about presenting as a physicist, and then some people could have brought up objections to him doing that, and he could have, then, considered it. You could say nothing changed over the last two months, but you’re assuming that everyone follows politics like you and me when only some people do.

  21. yourstruly
    May 10, 2013, 1:59 am

    if possible the number of jews emigrating from israel should be closely monitored now. should there be a sharp uptick, that’ll tell us that israeli confidence in the entity’s survival is on the decline, and that the end of the struggle is nigh.

    • yrn
      May 10, 2013, 3:06 am

      Why bother, I can tell you Israelis always emigrated and always will.
      Yes that’s the end of the struggle, you can rest in peace now.

    • Ecru
      May 10, 2013, 9:14 am

      I admit part of me agrees – they should be VERY closely monitored and not let into any other country except as tourists. Unless that is they can prove a history of campaigning in Israel for equal rights for all irrespective of ethnicity. If they can’t prove that then why can’t Ireland (for example) say “we are a Celtic nation, Israeli Jewish immigrants would prove a demographic threat and will therefore be refused entry?”

      What’s sauce for the goose……

  22. Mike_Konrad
    May 10, 2013, 2:17 am

    What do you expect the Israelis to do?

    Steven Hawkings should have stayed out of this. If he wanted to boycott, he should have done so quietly.

    Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs (whether you admit it or not)

    They see every slight as a life and death matter.

    • talknic
      May 10, 2013, 3:05 am

      @Mike_Konrad “What do you expect the Israelis to do?”

      Adhere to the law for once… Get out of non-Israeli territory, take the illegal settlers, pay rightful reparations for 64 years of dispossessing non-Jews

      “Steven Hawkings should have stayed out of this”

      He is. What do you think a boycott is?

      “Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs”

      No doubt. Things can get rather hostile when you steal, lie, refuse to adhere to the rules, show everyone you cannot be trusted, start wars, lie

    • Sumud
      May 10, 2013, 3:26 am

      What do you expect the Israelis to do?


      Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights

      Steven Hawkings should have stayed out of this.

      Says who? Except you, someone who appears to be opposed to free speech?

      Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs (whether you admit it or not)

      They see every slight as a life and death matter.

      As eljay says, “aggressor-victimhood is a tough gig”.

      If you can name one war which Israel did not act as aggressor, please do. I challenge you!

      Shamefully, and because they exploited it ruthlessly, Israel was given a free pass by much of the world, and for many years. Those days are over.

      • Sumud
        May 10, 2013, 7:53 am

        Shamefully, and because they exploited it ruthlessly, Israel was given a free pass by much of the world, and for many years. Those days are over.

        The holocaust is the “it” I’m referring to above…

      • eljay
        May 10, 2013, 8:30 am

        >> Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs …

        Yeah, it makes no sense, especially since the only thing Zio-supremacists ever did was use terrorism and ethnic cleansing to create an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine. And engage in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder. And refuse to be held accountable for past and on-going (war) crimes. And refuse to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.


      • eljay
        May 10, 2013, 8:31 am

        >> As eljay says, “aggressor-victimhood is a tough gig”.

        Zio-supremacists certainly make it seem that way. ;-)

      • Mike_Konrad
        May 10, 2013, 6:15 pm

        If you can name one war which Israel did not act as aggressor, please do. I challenge you!

        The Arabs struck first in 1973.

      • Sumud
        May 11, 2013, 9:58 am

        The Arabs struck first in 1973.

        Yes they did Mike Konrad. But they did NOT attack or invade Israel – Egypt attacked Israeli troops occupying Egyptian land.

        Big difference. In occupying the Sinai, Israel remains the aggressor.

        You said “Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs” and “They see every slight as a life and death matter” yet none of these arab countries have ever started a war with Israel. Seems you don’t understand who the hostile party really is.

    • eGuard
      May 10, 2013, 4:54 am

      Mike_Konrad: Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs (whether you admit it or not)

      Apart from the self-proving fallacy (how convincing), Israel can take away such perceived hostility by itself. Read BDS basics for an explaination on how.

    • Ecru
      May 10, 2013, 6:20 am

      “[Arabs] see every slight as a life and death matter.

      You’re projecting again since it Israeli’s who see every slight as an “existential threat” (have they trademarked that yet?). Of course they’re surrounded by hostility – they don’t have a neighbour they haven’t attacked and it would take a deaf and blind moron (or a hasbarite*) to fail to see that they’ve spent every second since Israel’s founding in trying to demonize Muslims in the Western world.

      And what the hell is the point of boycotting something quietly? What an idiotic statement.

      * I was going to add “dishonest” but it would have been redundant.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 10, 2013, 12:16 pm

      “Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs (whether you admit it or not)”

      What a racist you are to describe a native population of human beings as a “hostile sea.”

    • RoHa
      May 11, 2013, 12:39 am

      “Israel is surrounded by a hostile sea of Arabs”

      And of course, Israel has done nothing* to arouse this hostility. It all stems from pure anti-Semitism.

      (*Aside, of course, from the founding principle that Jews matter and Arabs don’t, from ethnic cleansing and robbery, and from attacking and waging war against all its neighbours.)

  23. Shmuel
    May 10, 2013, 2:41 am

    If he wanted to boycott, he should have done so quietly.

    Boycott is a political protest action, not a life choice. If you do it quietly, you might as well not bother.

  24. amigo
    May 10, 2013, 5:00 am

    And when Israel denies Professor Chomsky entry, is that not boycotting academic pursuits.

    Israel is one huge contradiction.

  25. eGuard
    May 10, 2013, 5:01 am

    [Shurat HaDin] called on Hawking to “pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet” which enables him to communicate because the chip was designed by a Israeli lab.

    There is this anti-BDS law in Israel, against promoting Boycott, with a very low treshold for proof. So now any good lawyer can claim & win damages from Intel for producing hate speech.

  26. eGuard
    May 10, 2013, 5:14 am

    MW: It hasn’t just been the right-wing that has lashed out at Hawking. Liberal Zionist Haaretz writer … [too]

    Lesson 1 in understanding the I/P situation: All Zionists Are Rightwing.

  27. eGuard
    May 10, 2013, 5:44 am

    About the +972 piece by Noam Sheizaf. He writes: While I myself have never advocated a full boycott, …

    That may be so, but we cannot know. More important is, that under current Israeli anti-BDS law he is not able to write the opposite (i.e., to support BDS). Any Israeli writing about the boycott should add:
    Disclaimer: This article was written under Israeli law that prohibits discussing BDS.

  28. Kathleen
    May 10, 2013, 8:40 am

    “the baseness of some of the right wing responses is still rather shocking.” Not shocking at all. Routine.

    “To this day hardly a week goes by in which Iran and its proxy Hezbollah do not threaten to obliterate Israel, even though they have no direct conflict with Israel about anything.”

    Do you think Zionist just have the simple formula of always flipping the script. Repeatedly blaming the other person or country of exactly what you or your country does. We all know it has been Israel who continually threatens Iran. Israel and the I lobby trying to convince the U.S. to attack Iran. Israel has to know that this move would be catastrophic for the U.S. Do you think this is ultimately what Israel would like.

    • Sumud
      May 10, 2013, 4:32 pm

      Do you think Zionist just have the simple formula of always flipping the script. Repeatedly blaming the other person or country of exactly what you or your country does.

      Yes, for sure.

      Unfortunately, the US is little better when it comes to foreign policy.

  29. piotr
    May 10, 2013, 8:59 am

    As a though experiment, suppose that Mr. X found a cure for breast cancer and once a week he rapes an 11 year old girl. Suppose that the state prosecutor has breast cancer, should she choose between prosecuting Mr. X or getting a treatment based on the discovery of Mr. X? The question makes no freaking sense!

    The claim about “Intel Core i7 chip” is primarily based on the assumption that achievements in science and arts (and sports for a good measure) absolve crimes and stupidity. At the time when Russian ballet redefined the standards in one of the most beautiful art forms, it would be totally inappropriate to pay attention to pogroms committed by the Black Hundred.

  30. Abdul-Rahman
    May 10, 2013, 12:58 pm

    “pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet”

    Oh these absolutely vapid supposed “arguments” from the oppressive Zionist propagandist morons. Let us see; “Intel Corporation is an American multinational semiconductor chip maker corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, California.” again an AMERICAN corporation (that happens to have opened up various offices around the world in countless different countries, not changing the central fact that it is an American company headquartered in the United States again!). And it has been noted that the Israeli regime uses American “aid” money ITSELF to often incentivise American corporations to send some of their production overseas to Israel (with tax breaks, Israeli regime building of facilities saving these American corporations money, etc. etc.)

    Literally, these hasbara claims from this pathetic “style” usually are either this (some ridiculous claim about an AMERICAN corporation, while of course not being open that it is an American corporation in question!) or just straight up Zionist lies of course. The two funniest lies have to be the Zionist claims that they supposedly “invented the cell phone” the real inventor of the cell phone American Martin Cooper of Illinois
    and then their claim to have supposedly “invented” the cherry tomato! Even though cherry tomatoes go back as far as Aztec Mexico in the 15th century CE

    What the Zionists point to there is a newer variety of cherry tomato (there are tons of different varieties of cherry tomatoes, again going back to Aztec Mexico centuries ago!) that some Israeli developed in MODERN TIMES (on stolen Palestinian land) using Peruvian seeds (i.e. seeds from Peru).

    And just to close, this supposed “argument” from the Zionist hasbara clowns is probably most stupid in that they themselves will completely reject such attempted “defenses” of oh lets say Nazi Germany!! I tell these hasbara agents just three things (of the many I could bring up!); unless you “love” Nazi Germany you allegedly must stop using any modern freeway system because the first freeway system in the world was the German autobahn (that the Nazi regime inaugurated), you must stop using COMPUTERS!! because the first modern computer was developed by the Nazi German scientist Konrad Zuse and also stop using anything related in any way to satellites because the basis of all modern rocketry (and thus by extension satellites being sent into orbit) was the Nazi V-1 and V-2 rocket programs (the American government brought over Nazi SS man Werner von Braun to lead NASA after the WW2)
    “Statements on the Internet on what the Nazis invented/ contributed to the modern world” (the person asking the question here seems to be a very similar person to the Zionist propagandists!)

    But something tells me these disreputable Zionist propagandists will actually agree with me on this one, in that none of these inventions supposedly “exonerate” the Nazis of even one of their crimes. Just like the PATHETIC Zionist appeals (and often lies) about their alleged “achievements”; do NOT “exonerate” them of even one of their crimes either.

    • piotr
      May 12, 2013, 7:50 am

      Perhaps Zionist cherry tomatoes are more tasteless than other store varieties? With modern plant breeding technology you can eliminate such impediments in vegetables as excessive smell and taste, something that the Aztec would be ignorant of.

      But indeed, what miserable world it would be if we had to use Samsung cell phones instead of Motorola, or AMD computer chips instead of Intel.

      PS. Wiki quote to support my remarks about modern technology and taste: The Santorini cherry tomato developed from seeds brought to Santorini (Greece) in 1818.[7] It is known for its flavour and body.[8] International conferences dedicated to the cultivation, horticulture and agriculture of the cherry tomato are also held at Santorini.

      The Tomaccio tomato was developed by several labs in Israel, the dominant ones being the lab head by Prof. Nahum Keidar and Prof. Chaim Rabinovitch from the Agriculture Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,[9] Rehovot Campus. It is the product of a 12-year breeding program using wild Peruvian tomato species to create a sweet snack tomato with excellent ripening time and shelf time.[10][11]

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