Earlier conflicting reports first had Hawking boycotting an academic conference in Israel, then his spokesman claimed he was not boycotting but withdrew for health concerns, and now a new statement is reiterating the first one.
Hawking, 71, has suffered from motor neurone disease for the past 50 years, and relies on a computer-based system to communicate.
According to Shurat HaDin, an Israel law centre which represents victims of terrorism, the equipment has been provided by an Israeli 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.Frankly, I`m past the point of caring what Stephen Hawking does anymore. This whole episode suggests his brain isn`t working particularly well. The only person in the world that remains impressed by him is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.
Nope, here's an update from Reuters:
The British cosmologist Stephen Hawking has pulled out of a prestigious Israeli conference as part of an academic boycott to protest against Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, Cambridge University said on Wednesday.
After conflicting explanations were given for Hawking's decision, a spokesman for the British university confirmed that the wheelchair-bound scientist was snubbing the annual event, organised by President Shimon Peres, as part of the boycott.
"We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking's office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President's office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott," the spokesman said.
"We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly."
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