The Commentator says reports of Stephen Hawking canceling an appearance in Israel as part of a boycott are not true.
The Guardian, which broke the story late last night, claimed that Hawking was due to boycott Israel after receiving an erroneous statement from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), apparently with Hawking’s approval.
The statement said that the move was “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there”.
However, a Cambridge university spokesperson has confirmed to The Commentator that there was a “misunderstanding” this past weekend, and that Prof. Hawking had pulled out of the conference for medical reasons.
Responding to an e-mail including an open letter to Prof. Hawking, shared nearly 2000 times, a University spokesman said: “Professor Hawking will not be attending the conference in Israel in June for health reasons – his doctors have advised against him flying.”
When asked for further information, the spokesperson confirmed that the BRICUP organisation had “assumed” Hawking’s position on the matter, and that it was fundamentally untrue.