|Stephen Hawking at the height of his power
Virtually no one of contemporary significance in the serious academic world (of which vapid Grievance Studies subjects, like Gender Studies do not merit consideration) has participated in the anti-intellectual discrimination against Israel.
The same holds true even in the generally less sagacious environs of celebrity culture. The few recognizable names to have fallen victim to a propaganda campaign that preys principally upon the uninsightful and desperate are far past the days when they have produced anything of note.
The biggest name in music to have publicly joined the boycott against Israel is the British musician Elvis Costello, and he only did so more than two decades after he has written a song that more than a handful of people could name. Adding his name to the unimpressive list of anti-Israel poobahs was the most attention Costello was able to garner for himself since the early 1990`s.
Which raises the question of the timing of Hawking`s decision. The Cambridge professor had paid visits to Israel in the past. most recently in 2006, when tensions between Israel and the Palestinians were even more exacerbated. So why now, in a time of relative calm, would Hawking`s position suddenly alter, particularly after he confirmed only a month ago that he would attend the conference he now has chosen to boycott?
Hawking had no qualms about attending conferences in China and Iran, where repression of free speech and all forms are dissent are the norm. But loathsome left-wing accolades don't go to people boycotting those totalitarian dictatorships.
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, than what we are seeing from people like Elvis Costello and Stephen Hawking is that adopting trendy political postures is the last refuge for a has-been celebrity.
(Updated May 9/13)