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We are extremely disappointed that some parts of the media are claiming that Professor Stephen Hawking withdrew from the Israeli Presidential Conference Facing Tomorrow 2013 for health reasons. Given Professor Hawking’s clear and unambiguous letter to the conference organisers we could not continue to allow the situation to be misrepresented in this way.
Professor Hawking’s letter to the conference guest speaker organiser stated:
“I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”
PSC is appalled at the personalised, offensive and vicious attacks on Professor Stephen Hawking, including via social media, simply for speaking out on this matter. Many will be taken aback at the extreme reaction among Israel’s supporters to Professor Hawking’s support for the Palestinian call for boycott. We urge those opposed to boycott, disinvestment and sanctions to respect freedom of speech.