Stephen Hawking & the Making of an Immoral Decision

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor.


Scientists Move Hands Of Nuclear "Doomsday Clock" ForwardI recently wrote an article where I suggested the possibility that latent anti-Semitism, of the kind that has recently manifested itself throughout Europe, may have played a role in influencing Stephen Hawking’s recent odious decision to boycott a conference scheduled to take place in Israel. The conclusion is a logical one. There are 22 Arab countries and according to Freedom House, none can be considered wholly free. Moreover, a recent report conducted by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted egregious abuses throughout the Muslim world where suppression of religious freedom and persecution of non-Muslims is the norm. Iran was criticized for “State sponsored anti-Semitism” while Egypt was faulted for doing little to protect its Coptic Christian minority as well as systemic and widespread anti-Semitism in Egypt’s media. In the Palestinian Territories, Christians in Gaza fear for their lives while in Bethlehem, Muslim intimidation of the Christian minority continues unabated. By contrast, Israel, though not without fault, was the only state ranked free in the Middle East region. The contrasts between Israel and its Muslim neighbors in every metric of freedom, progress and enlightenment could not be starker, and that raises the question, why would Hawking single out the only democracy in the Middle East for special treatment while ignoring the loathsome transgressions of her Islamic neighbors?

While discussing the article with a colleague and what role if any, anti-Semitism played, he offered another explanation, one having nothing to do with anti-Semitism. He suggested, somewhat half-jokingly, that Hawking displays some of the telltale signs of being an Idiot Savant. Savants typically lack normal social communication skills, but possess an abnormally high skill in such isolated disciplines as mathematics and art. This type of personality is very easily manipulated. Quite obviously, Hawking is not a savant but the suggestion did enlighten me as to other possibilities for his seemingly irrational and amoral decision.

It is quite obvious that the progression of Hawking’s degenerative disease has taken its toll on his frail body. It is also probable that his disease and the cocktail of medications that he’s required to imbibe rendered him susceptible to undue influence and that the Palestinian “academics” and “activists” who pressured him were keenly aware of this frail man’s vulnerabilities.

Palestinian manipulation of the weak and frail is nothing new and is in fact standard practice. During the second intifada, Palestinians routinely utilized women and children, some of whom were developmentally delayed, to carry out suicide bombings. In one particular egregious incident, Palestinian terrorists persuaded a disfigured woman, seeking medical treatment in Israel, to blow herself up in the midst of those very medical personal treating her. Fortunately, the scheme was detected before coming to fruition and the terror attack, which would have likely produced horrendous casualties on par with those witnessed in the Boston atrocity, was thwarted.

But the incident does provide some insight into the mindset of Palestinian terrorists and “activists” and their insidious efforts to exploit human frailties. In this regard, the depravity of some Palestinians and the depths to which they will stoop to accomplish their nefarious aims, knows no bounds. If they are thus capable of exploiting vulnerabilities for the purpose of causing mass murder, it goes without saying that they would employ similar tactics to influence political thinking.

A third, more simplistic explanation for Hawking’s inanity can be found in the ancient Jewish prayer of Amidah, where one petitions God to grant intelligence, wisdom and understanding. I never fully comprehended and appreciated the depth of this passage until the Hawking fiasco. Here we are confronted with a man blessed with an abundance of intelligence but sorely lacking in basic scruples causing him to succumb to the depths of stupidity.

A confluence of the above three noted elements likely played a role in Hawking’s decision to mimic the Nazi Brown Shirts of 1933. New anti-Semitism of the type described by human rights activist Natan Sharansky permeates British academia and higher learning institutions from the top down. But the manipulative role played by Palestinian activists in shaping the views of a sickly, frail man can not be overlooked. Lastly, basic common sense and understanding of the issues currently underlining the Arab-Israel dispute should have facilitated a more sympathetic view and appreciation of Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Arabs irrespective of Palestinian undue influence. Hawking clearly and utterly failed the test of wisdom.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    This has nothing to do with being an idiot savant. If only. But it does have to do with the insidious disease of anti-semitism, coupled with moral relativism. And this is precisely why so many intelligent people, even Jews, are caught up its choke hold. Yes, self hating Jews are a separate breed of anti-semites.

    The paradox and pitfalls of liberal democracies leads the way – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/21/the-paradox-p

    Just connect the dots from Hawking to so many so called "leading lights".

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • kafir4life

    I used to enjoy and respect Dr. Hawking. I'm hopeful that now he'll just return any technology developed by Israelis to prove he's not a hypocrite.

  • Snorbak

    People often confuse intelligence with wisdom, Stephan Hawking has demonstrated perfectly that one can have extreme levels of intelligence yet no wisdom. The man is absolutely brilliant, yet he is a fool!

    • You Know Who

      Fool? He seems to know what he is talking about

      • Snorbak

        "He seems to know what he is talking about", well that all depends on the subject matter?

  • http://frontpage richard sherman

    HAWKING, HEIDIGGER, GERTRUDE STEIN……People who give the appearance of having intelligence….but at the end of the day prove themselves to be antisemitic degenerates.

    • You Know Who

      You're a moron. Just because people do not agree with the rougue israeli government does not mean they are anti-semites. Quit using that old a$$ lame excuse

  • catchr

    This is a very disappoiting article, which fails to conform to basic standards of justice towards Mr. Hawking, whom I am not particularly inclinced to defend, but neverthelss must in light of this column. The author, without evidently having ever met the man or had any discussions with him, is prepared to denounce him as a having given into "latent anti- semitism" which "may have" influenced his decision to boycott the conference in question. Either he is a "latent anti-semite" or perhaps an idiot-sevant; manipulated by dark and evil forces at work in the muslim world? The latter claim again asserted with no proof. Before besmirching someone's character isn't more required than that??

    • stern

      Hawking has besmirched his own character with this ridiculous decision. Before he reaches any scientific conclusions, he studies every fact carefully. In this case, he heard one side and made up his mind. That says all we need to know about him.

      • You Know Who

        I am sure he looked at both sides. You have only looked at one side of the argument. Anyone with an unbiased open mind that looks at both sides does not support isreal

        • stern

          Actually that is completely untrue. It requires a complete lack of logic and an inability to reason to support the "Palestinians".

          Look at the real history and you cannot possibly agree that the Arabs have right on their side.

          Consider just one thing. Which side has been prepared to share the land ever since the Peel Report of 1937 and which side has consistently said no, absolutely not. Look at the polls today and you'll see that the story is still the same. The majority of Israelis believe that the two-state solution is still a possibility, while the majority of "Palestinians" believe peace is impossible.

          What was that you said about an "open mind"? Your very statement shows just how closed you are to reality.

        • stern

          You Know Nothing, here's a link to an article written by a non-Jewish South African. Read it and then try rewriting your last sentence above.
          http://www.citizen.co.za/citizen/content/en/citiz

  • ride2lv

    Hawking released a statement that he was not attending the conference due to health reasons and it had nothing to do with a boycott of Israel.

    • stern

      No he didn't. The University of Cambridge issued that statement and had to retract when Hawking himself insisted that he was boycotting "on the advice of Palestinian academics". Get your facts straight.

    • Defcon 4

      NOthing like a convenient lie to cover up the truth eh?

  • kinapeda

    Regarding health reasons, it was revealed that the university initially released that statement, corrected by his spokesman that indeed he was participating in the boycott. As to whether there was latent anti-Semitism playing a role, I'd suggest that it was merely the intensity of the lobbying on behalf of said boycott. Anyone who works or has worked on a campus or in an academic environment is well aware of the anti-Israel activism and the lack of any pro-Israel activism that can approach that level of intensity or commitment. The anti- Zionist, Israel bashers are relentless.

  • metatron2

    Just because a person is disabled, doesn't mean that person has morals or ethics….or has common sense!!!

  • PamM

    This probably has less to do with anti-Semitism than with the insidious influence of Saudi money. Many universities in Britain, and throughout the West, get funding from Saudi sources. With this money comes political clout, which makes the university authorities eager to kowtow to the Saudis every whim. Thus militant jihadist speakers are given a free rein, while a blind eye is turned towards blatant islamic anti-Semitism and misogyny. Anyone protesting about this is accused of being islamophobic and is likely to be targeted by the Muslim bully boys while the authorities look the other way.

    Read this article about life in a British university today.
    http://libertygb.org.uk/v1/index.php/news-liberty

  • Cat K

    True there's Saudi money but still it IS anti-Semitic to boycott Israel and not condemn the true atrocities of Muslim countries. It is also outrageous, immoral and either ignorant or viciously genocidal.
    Idiot savant or idiot, this man needs to return (as in boycott) all the technology and medicines Israel and Israeli scientists and engineers developed immediately. He needs to meet with Jews, Rabbis, Israelis and offer a true apology or be forever known by his defining feature – anti-Semite.

  • Silverio Facundo

    Maybe this naive, misguided physics genius should enhance his boycot of Israel by going to one of the renowned great universities and research centers scattered throughout the muslim world. There are so many of those fine think-tanks and knowledge centers that it's hard to decide where to start. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Lybia, Gaza, Iraq. Wow, so many to choose from, it makes your head spin! Maybe he could start at the Ramallah Institute of Technology, where I hear their Physics department is second to none.

    Hawkins would have a hard time deciding to choose from such an abundant offering of true science. Maybe he should give up his residence in Britain and move shop to the ultra-fine Somalia Center for the Physical Sciences.

  • hmurveit

    And so what is alice walkers excuse, just go ole fashion anti antisemitism or just plain stupid

  • Jim

    He can't always be right in fact he finally gave in on one of his theories and announced it in public.

    What other scientists are boycotting Israel?

    • You Know Who
      • stern

        Have you even read the article you have linked to here? It does not list scientists boycotting Israel, but merely a history of the BDS movement. but I suppose expecting you to be able to read would really be too much, wouldn't it?

  • slider 96

    Hawking , did in fact retract in favor of a medical excuse , but seeing the folly therein re-iterated that he would not attend and acquiesce to the protest of the Palestinians . This indicates that he is in full control of his faculties , and really was not just a vulnerable person who gave in to outside pressures .
    Hawking fully understands the situation , and BY HIS ACTIONS , has exposed his position . One would be correct in assuming the man is an anti-Semite , something not unusual to be found in British intellectuals .

  • You Know Who

    Now that my creppy stalker roger has left I can finally have a discussion.

    That dumb a$$ can't track me now

  • Simple truth

    Truth is, there's no scientific or human advancement events in the Arab world for Hawking to boycott.