Say ‘thanks’ to Stephen Hawking

on 20 Comments

If you want to express your appreciation to Stephen Hawking for his courageous gesture, there’s a petition here.

It reads:

Stephen Hawking
Thank you for supporting the international call to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and adherence to the Academic Boycott of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. We appreciate the courage it takes to stand against apartheid Israel.
[Your name]

After I signed, the site,, invited me to sign another one: “Pledge your support for President Obama’s second-term agenda.” Thanks anyway for that one…

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20 Responses

  1. quercus
    May 10, 2013, 4:11 pm

    How do you know the message will in fact get to Stephen Hawking? Who manages/owns the site Is it not possible to email Stephen Hawking directly?

  2. Kathleen
    May 10, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Thanks we need to support Stephen Hawking any way we can for doing such an honorable and brave thing. Go Hawking!

  3. ToivoS
    May 10, 2013, 5:24 pm Inc is a for profit organization that hosts petitions for progressive causes. I think their business plan is to bill the sponsor of the petition for each signature. I wonder if they are using the Hawking thank-you as a loss leader to attract people to sign paying petitions?

    Now that would be a weird development if BDS/Hawking is being used as a draw to gain support for Obama?

    • narcissist
      May 10, 2013, 7:47 pm

      Thank for that insight.

    • Henry Norr
      May 11, 2013, 1:17 am

      I don’t know the details, so correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that charges organizations for petitions but lets individuals post them for free. This one seems to have been started by an individual.

      • ToivoS
        May 11, 2013, 4:29 am

        Henry, I was just guessing. I have no idea how these sites make their money. In any case, if can prosper promoting petitions like this than more power to them. I just thought it was interesting that they would use BDS as an avenue to support Obama’s policies. Ironic, don’t you think?

  4. Les
    May 10, 2013, 5:56 pm

    With a thank you to Noam Chomsky as well.

    Noam Chomsky was behind lobby to get Stephen Hawking to boycott Israel conference
    By Robert Booth, The Guardian
    Friday, May 10, 2013 15:06 EDT

    For the full story:

    • ToivoS
      May 11, 2013, 4:45 am

      I do love Noam Chomsky even though I disagree with his over-all political sense of what is happening in Israel. If he helped move Hawking then more power to Chompsky.

      I find it very distasteful to see criticisms of Finklestein and Chomsky because they lack proper ideological views of the Big Picture. I think my big picture is better than theirs, but it doesn’t even compare to their clear critiques of how Israel is oppressing the Palestinians. Right now bringing that story to the American people is much more important than what we all think is the ideal solution to the problem. Once Americans begin to see what the problem really is, then we can debate on how to solve it.

      • Cliff
        May 11, 2013, 8:03 am

        Totally agree Toivo.

        But I think they aren’t beyond criticism. Especially Finkelstein. He should be able to take it, since he dishes it out.

        Chomsky is much more antiseptic and he’s done so much for so many different resistance movements/solidarity movements/peace movements. In the US and abroad.

  5. MK_Ultra
    May 10, 2013, 6:46 pm

    And here’s more on the Hawking story:

    Thursday, 09 May 2013 18:02

    Six prominent world renowned figures and institutes boycott Israel!+Mail

    A number of well-known and renowned figures and institutes have announced their boycott of Israeli president Shimon Peres’s conference scheduled to be held in Jerusalem next month. This boycott is an expression of their condemnation of Israel’s occupation and violations against the Palestinian people. This has upset Israel, especially since the figures and institutes boycotting the conference are highly regarded and influential worldwide.

    After famous physicist Stephen Hawking announced his boycott of the Israeli conference sponsored by Shimon Peres, Israeli media outlets highlighted this issue (the boycott) on Thursday and pointed out its effects and magnitude. Moreover, the media noted that over the past few years, a number of highly regarded figures and institutes, both academic and commercial, have joined campaigns boycotting Israel as an expression of their rejection of the occupation and policies exercised by Israel against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

    “Haaretz” newspaper revealed the names of the 6 most prominent figures and institutes that have expressed their rejection of the Israeli occupation and policies against Palestinians either by refusing to visit the country and boycotting the conference or by refusing commercial, academic or cultural cooperation with the occupying state of Israel. The list of well-known figures and institutes boycotting Israel and its conference next week mentioned by the newspaper include the following:

    • MUJI Japanese network for manufacturing and marketing (wholesale trade), which is a network that manufactures and markets over 7000 products including stationary, food, and cars. In 2010, MUJI refused to open a branch in Israel (despite Israeli insistence) in response to Japanese parties supporting and advocating the cause of the Palestinian people.

    • British rock star and musician, Elvis Costello, who cancelled two concerts in Israel in 2010 due to the humiliation Israel exercises against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. At the time, he commented on the cancellation of his concerts by saying “I cannot make an appearance in a place where they humiliate Palestinians in the name of Israeli national security.”

    • In 2010, the British writer and director, Mike Leigh, who was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his services to the film industry, refused to visit Israel due to its violations against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

    • The University of Johannesburg in South Africa, announced its severance of academic ties with Ben-Gurion University in 2011 due to the university’s relations with the Israeli occupation army. Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu, commented on the University’s decision to boycott Ben- Gurion University saying, “Such relations cannot continue as Israeli universities are an essential part of the Israeli regime and chose to be so.” He stressed his continued support for the international campaign to boycott Israel, withdraw investments from it and impose sanctions on it.

    • In 2012, the international American writer, poet, author and social activist, Alice Walker, refused for one of her most critically acclaimed novels, “The Color Purple”, which was awarded both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, to be translated into Hebrew. Moreover, in 2009, she participated in a solidarity visit to the Gaza Strip with 60 women from an anti-war group in response to the Israeli war on Gaza.

    • This year, world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking announced his boycott of a 3 day Conference being held in Jerusalem under the patronage of the Israeli President Shimon Peres. He also called for an academic boycott of Israel due to its aggressive actions against the Palestinians and its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.

    • MHughes976
      May 11, 2013, 10:07 am

      Tutu is not currently a primate of the South African Church – he’s retired Archbishop of Cape Town. Mike Leigh OBE is, not that it matters too much, Jewish – I’ve been to see ‘2000 Years’, which he calls ‘his Jewish play’, though there he keeps the political questions in the background as a family drama proceeds.

  6. valency
    May 10, 2013, 7:18 pm

    I’m afraid Mondoweiss will have to thank Noam Chomsky as well for coming aboard the BDS boat and being instrumental in convincing Hawking to take this step.

  7. gingershot
    May 10, 2013, 7:56 pm

    Looks like the academic boycott of Israeli Apartheid is much more broadly based than first realized

    Noam Chomsky was among 20 academics who privately lobbied Professor Stephen Hawking to boycott a major Israeli conference, it has emerged.

    Norman Chomsky joined British academics from the Universities of Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, York and the Open University to tell Hawking they were “surprised and deeply disappointed” 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.

    Currently being reported at the Guardian

  8. anthonybellchambers
    May 11, 2013, 1:00 am

    “@Thousands of ultra-Orthodox jeered, spit and threw rocks at the 400 ‘Women of the Wall’ who prayed at the Western Wall today, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    THE (claimed) ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST is in fact a rabid, misogynist society that treats orthodox Jewish women, together with all Muslim Arabs, male and female, as inferior beings. And yet, the democratic family of western nations still trades with this state! It is a disgrace and an affront to civilised society.

    Professor Hawkins, one of he world’s most acclaimed academics has this week made a stand. He is a great exemplar to the rest of the world. We should have learned that to be silent in the face of injustice, and state terrorism, is to be allied to it. To take no action is appeasement.

    Just as the Church of Scotland has this week spoken out, so other organisations must follow suit.”

  9. Daniel Rich
    May 11, 2013, 5:03 am

    As of 18:00hrs. [Saturday, 11 May, 2013 – JST] 158 more signatures needed.

  10. miriam6
    May 11, 2013, 7:33 am

    As of 12.28pm 11th may;

    Just 6,600 more signatures needed for Colonel Morris Davis’s petition to Obama to demand the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

    The petition has 193,4000 signatures to date.

    • Cliff
      May 11, 2013, 8:01 am

      Why is an Israeli Zionist Jew concerned more about Guantanamo Bay than the atrocities, occupation, apartheid committed by your own government?

      Oh that’s right, DIVERSION.

      We are Americans and we do not support Guantanamo Bay.

      Bringing up this online petition in a thread about thanking Hawking for boycotting your apartheid country is a non-sequitar and straw-man.

      We can say thank you to Hawking and sign the petition to close Guantanamo.

      These issues aren’t mutually exclusive.

      Ditto for Sudan, Darfur, Libya, Syria, blah blah blah.

      But this is a Israel-Palestine blog and naturally a Zionist troll will come HERE to talk about SOMETHING ELSE.


    • MK_Ultra
      May 11, 2013, 10:06 am

      Broken record, one pony show Miriam. I gather that given your uttermost concern with the situation in Guantanamo, you will embark on a similar effort and petition the ISraeli government to close its gulags, stop arresting Palestinian children, bombing Gaza and YES! Free the Palestinian prisoners who are also on hunger strike there for the same reasons as those in Guantanamo. Of course, loving, caring, humane and politically engaged as you are, you do you know that Palestinians have actually died during hunger strikes in the Isreali gulags. No doubt you fought to the bitter end for them too because you’re just that type of socially-responsible, fair and just person.

  11. Cliff
    May 11, 2013, 8:04 am

    Chomsky rocks. Good on him for writing to Hawking.

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