I didn’t know Stephen Hawking was coming until I heard that he wasn’t.
As soon as I heard that he wasn’t I was upset about it. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous and the more people shout about how little they care the more clear it becomes that the opposite is true.
Economically there is no Boycott Divestment and Sanctions effort, the attempts to create one have made anti-Israel activists look like small minded bullies or, at best pretty pathetic individuals.
Plenty of people have raised the fact that there are thousands of components made in Israel to be found in personal computers, mobile phones and a range of other devices that are used by millions of people around the world daily and have become such a large part of our lives that the mere thought of going without them immediately seems ridiculous. Then there are the contributions that Israel makes in the field of medical science and physics that contribute to the greater good and to human understanding of the world around us.
For these reasons and many more a boycott of Israeli goods and know how is simply impractical but with this boycott of people we are facing a real challenge. It hurts the prestige of the country, it hurts Israelis who want to see their favourite performers and it makes us feel singled out in the world for special punishment and I resent it.
Quite frankly I think the fact that musicians and other celebrities will be lobbied (often successfully) not to come to Israel really hurts. I want all of the big musicians to come here, I want celebrities to come to Israel without facing hassles and I want Stephen Hawking to come to Israel tomorrow.
But then I was always taught that “I want doesn’t get” and at the moment that looks true of VIPs coming to Israel.
To be honest I’d like to be able to say something positive about all this but there isn’t any silver lining to this business.
The bottome line is that If the BDS guys were trying to make me feel bad they succeeded, if they were trying to end the occupation, destroy Israel or help Palestinians in some roundabout way I think it will require quite a lot more than this.