The American Conservative May 14 2013
BDS = Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ~G
It’s hard to know which is the bigger deal, Stephen Hawking’s BDS-inspired decision to drop out of a high-powered conference in Israel (a country he has visited several times before) or the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Hawking’s protest. Both actions would have been virtually inconceivable five years ago, and both reflect the broader impatience of mainstream, high-prestige Western institutions and personalities with Israel’s intensifying land-grabbing on the West Bank and its longstanding practice of using the never-ending “peace process” to camouflage policies of slow-motion ethnic cleansing.
Hawking of course is a global celebrity, renowned as a top theoretical physicist who has triumphed professionally despite suffering from the most debilitating of diseases. His defiance is celebrated in graphic form here and analyzed perceptively by the Israeli anti-occupation journalist Larry Derfner here. Derfner doesn’t really like BDS but notes that nothing else to date has worked: the Israeli public seems all too happy to elect governments which support the occupation, the United States is too timid to try “tough love” on Israel, and it’s very difficult for the Palestinians to make non-violent protest effective against an occupier using live ammunition, midnight arrests, and detention without trial. Not that they aren’t trying.