Sunday, May 12, 2013

  • Sunday, May 12, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
As Zionists gnash their teeth over Stephen Hawking's embrace of BDS, and Israel-haters celebrate their victory, it it worthwhile to take a step back to understand how Hawking might have come to such a position.

After all, as smart as Hawking is, his ability to access original information about the Middle East is quite
limited. Almost certainly a large percentage of his time online is simply dealing with email, and his assistants are almost certainly filtering even that. It is not like Hawking can take a few weeks off to double-check the veracity of articles about the Middle East in British media, or even the many emails he was probably bombarded with from the BDSers when it was announced that he would attend a conference in Israel.

Hawking is a product of his environment, and his ability to go beyond the conventional wisdom in anything besides physics is severely constrained. Which means that Hawking's knowledge of Israel is filtered through the conventional wisdom of Britain.

In the most recent Pew Global Attitudes poll, we see that 44% of the British have an unfavorable attitude towards Israel, and only 34% have a favorable attitude.

When asked which side they  sympathize with more, 19% were on the Israeli side and 35% sympathized more with the Palestinian Arab side. Even more telling, in 2002, while Israelis were being blown up every couple of days from suicide bombs, the British were only 17% sympathetic towards Israel compared to 28% for Palestinian Arabs.

A most telling episode occurred in 2001, when the French ambassador to England referred to Israel during a dinner party as "that shitty little country." The British, rather than being upset at the ambassador, tended to rally around him, with an op-ed in the Independent supporting the statement and other in the Guardian and the Observer all far more angry at the Jewish woman who revealed the comment than the French ambassador who made it.

This was hardly an anomaly. Only days after 9/11, Richard Ingrams wrote in The Observer:

The mountain of words and pictures last week mirrored the piles of rubble in New York. Like the rescue workers there, one waded in trying to find something that was alive, that would illuminate and explain what had happened.

Noticeable was the reluctance throughout the media to contemplate the Israeli factor - the undeniable and central fact behind the disaster that Israel is now and has been for some time an American colony, sustained by billions of American dollars and armed with American missiles, helicopters and tanks.

Such has been the pressure from the Israeli lobby in this country that many, even normally outspoken journalists, are reluctant even to refer to such matters. Nor would you find anywhere in last week's coverage, any reference whatever to things I have mentioned here in recent issues of The Observer: the fact, for example, that Mr Blair's adviser on the Middle East is an unelected, unknown Jewish businessman, Lord Levy, now installed in the Foreign Office; the fact that this same Lord Levy is the chief fundraiser for the Labour Party; unmentioned also would be the close business links with Israel of two of our most powerful press magnates, Rupert Murdoch and the newly ennobled owner of the Telegraph newspapers, Lord Conrad Black....
Yes, Ingrams' first reaction to the 9/11 attacks was that it must obviously be Israel's fault.

There is no shortage of writings about British anti-Zionism and, yes, the related British anti-semitism. From the pages of The Guardian to members of the Church of England, virulent anti-Israel and more subtle anti-semitic statements have been becoming more and more mainstream and accepted. The fact is that the environment in Great Britain is turning increasingly toxic against anyone showing sympathy, or empathy, with the Jewish state.

No doubt, the genesis of this hate is complex, from historic British antisemitism through antipathy towards Zionist Jews during the last years of the British Mandate of Palestine, plus the increasing influence of socialism and its concomitant anti-Zionism.


In a nation that has embraced the false themes of unlimited Israeli evil and absolute Palestinian Arab victimhood, can we expect people to suspect that they are being fed a diet of lies? Finding out the truth takes time; it takes effort, and it takes commitment, all resources that most people cannot be bothered with. If their newspaper says that Israel is the intransigent party, who will spend the time to research the other side? Who would even consider that there is another side?


We read reports about British anti-Zionism and think that it is a shame, but they are abstract. It takes a Stephen Hawking for us to realize that the torrent of lies and half-truths about Israel does affect and poison the minds of real people, even smart people.

In such an environment, how could we expect Stephen Hawking to think differently? Why would he doubt the hundreds of emails he probably received, many illustrated with seemingly authoritative maps showing Zionist expansionism and fake quotes showing Zionist depravity?  He simply has little or no exposure to anything but anti-Zionism and no real ability to check the veracity of the propaganda he and his fellow countrymen have been force-fed for decades.

Hawking isn't the problem. His decision is the result of a much bigger problem, of an entire nation - actually, an entire continent - that cannot be bothered with the truth because of years of being brainwashed with simplistic and false notions of an evil Jewish Goliath and the saintly Arab David.

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