Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 14-03-2018
As the world mourns the death of physicist Stephen Hawking and remember him for his work on black holes, his brook A Brief History of Time, he was also known for his support of an academic boycott of Israel in the name of Palestinian justice.
Hawking’s family has described as a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
The 76-year-old died at his home in Cambridge early on Wednesday.
He suffered from the neurological disease ALS and was only given two years live when he was diagnosed back in 1963.
In 1993 Hawking decided not to attend a conference in Israel in support of an academic boycott of the country which sparked controversy in Israel and a vitriolic debate online.
His change of heart appeared to be the result of advice from Palestinian academics to abide by a boycott set up in protest over Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.
Omar Barghouti, one of the founding members of The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which was established in 2005 said at the time that Hawking has a deep respect for the Palestinian struggle.
"Stephen Hawking is the most prominent academic today to respect the Palestinian boycott guidelines and to refuse to visit Israel. This reminds us of the moral weight of academics in the boycott of apartheid of South Africa."
Hawking has visited Israel four times, most recently in 2006, when he lectured at Israeli and Palestinian universities.