Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Professor Stephen Hawking & the boycott

 I must admit this morning to having been upset to hear that the good professor Hawking had decided to cancel his visit to Israel, and issue an anti-Israel statement via the bad offices of an organisation BRICUP, dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Why was I upset about the professor, and not about the other assorted idiots and anti-semites who boycott Israel?

Well maybe not just at the unfairness of it, but maybe as one person who has fought against terrible odds to achieve great things, Stephen Hawking Professor might have had some sympathy with a whole people who have done the same, a people who after having been ethnically cleansed from their lands originally, had a Holocaust on them, and ethnic cleansing repeated again last century in europe and in arab lands.

I thought that great thinker he is, he might sympathized with jews like himself succeeding against terrible odds despite being among other British people who after years of indoctrination are amongst the worst culprits in the hate fest against Israel.

I don't blame the average Briton, they are after all assailed on all sides by the arab lobby, by the historically antagonistic BBC and other mass media which pump out on a daily basis, biased news about the Arab-Israel conflict. In Britain (as also in the USA) saudi money corrupts british diplomats, foreign office and civil service denizens, who know that lucrative posititions await them on the boards of companies and arab financed 'think tanks' once they retire as long as they toe the arab line. George Galloway is only the most public of such people in Britain with his nose deeply sunk in the arab and iranian trough.

The USA is one of the countries that is still a true friend of the Jewish People (Obama & co excepted, however much they protest the opposite, 'by your deeds shall ye be known'). And the American people are more in sympathy with Israel than at any time, seemingly largely immune to that 'eternal hatred', which Theodor Herzl the founder of zionism likened to a 'virus'. That hatred infests europe as we see in France, Sweden, Hungary and Greece to mention the main areas of concern at the moment.

Jimmy Carter with his boots weighed down by arab gold can think of no other country than Israel to affix the 'apartheid' epithet to ( strangely enough 'human rights' advocate Carter has never uttered one tiny hint of criticism against his saudi paymasters, not for gender apartheid, not for arrests, tortures and murders of christians, of gay people, nothing at all).

The man who began the nazi inspired boycott of Israel is actually an arab Israeli who studies for his Phd at Tel Aviv University. The hypocrisy of urging others to boycott Israel whilst yourself benefiting from advanced studies at an Israeli university is lost on Mr Omar Barghouti.

Arabs like Omar Barghouti and Raed Saleh take everything they can from democratic Israel, all the trappings of a modern welfare state, whilst returning nothing, whilst trying to destroy, as an arab might say, 'the well they are drinking from.' Of course there are many hundreds, maybe thousands of arabs in Israel to whom this doesn't apply. But the fact is that arabs pay very few taxes and do not in the main do national service or serve in the army. They do however insist on and receive fully equal treatment with Israelis who pay their taxes and defend the country. There are moves afoot in Israel to address this with a form of national service at long last.

Anyone who saw Netanyahu's welcome in Congress last year can not fail to be impressed by the love that americans have for Israel. The USA is truly a blessed nation, with a blessed people, even that people sometimes picks the strangest of leaders.

But then i'm back to the professor. Why is he boycotting Israel?

Because he isn't. The boycotters were lying. As throughout our history, our enemies stop at nothing to besmirch us and to claim false victories. Now isn't that a surprise?

Professor  Stephen Hawking is not well, so refuah shelema professor, get better soon.

UPDATE 9TH May: After the situation finally cleared it seems Professor  Stephen Hawking prefers to join the ranks of Israel's enemies. As one door closes, another opens with Netanyahu's business trip to China. Unlike the UK with its once world class universities (4 of Israel's computer teaching centers are ranked in the world top 30, as opposed to one in Britain), China is eager to do business with Israel.

For those interested in the ramifications of boycotting Israel, as opposed to any of the truly apartheid arab countries (take your pick, they're all cut from the same cloth, all abuse or have in recent memory, ethnically cleansed and killed christians) read this:
Tim Harcourt From:The Australian May 07, 2013

 TARGETING Israel by boycotting products and people with Israeli connections is not only misguided but counterproductive to trade, international relations and peace between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab nations.

Much of this activity takes place on university campuses, particularly the University of Sydney and the University of NSW, where we saw a small but tense protest against the opening of a Max Brenner chocolate shop.

Putting aside that Jewish shops were targeted in 1933 by the Nazis in Germany, and we wouldn't expect one to be targeted in Australia in 2013 (not to mention the virulent anti-Semitic comments made on social media), what about the economics of the boycott?

If we boycotted all goods, services or individuals with Israeli connections, what would that mean at UNSW?

Many medicines are manufactured by Israel's Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic drugs company in the world. AZT and hypericin-based drugs that help HIV and AIDS sufferers were developed or improved following research at the Weizmann Institute of Science or the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sufferers of diabetes would not be able to use insulin measuring and injecting devices created by Israeli scientists. Patients with multiple sclerosis would be denied Copaxone, one of the most efficient medicines and the only non-interferon agent, developed by Teva. Ditto for sufferers of Parkinson's disease, strokes, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, glaucoma or brain tumour, or those in need of a kidney transplant. But hey, it's all for a good cause.

UNSW would also have to remove all Intel Pentium and Celeron computer processor chips from personal computers, as these were developed or manufactured in Israel. Anti-virus software and personal firewalls would also need to be removed. Computers running Windows XP operating systems were developed in Israel. All Microsoft operating systems would have to be boycotted, as Microsoft is heavily reliant on its Israeli research and development centre.

Likewise for mobile phones, as this technology was developed in Israel, where the first mobile phones were manufactured.

In agriculture, we'd have to give up products that use irrigation and agricultural technology provided by Israel, including many in Africa and in China, India, Indonesia, Nepal and much of the emerging world. We'd have to boycott many fruit and vegetables enhanced using Israeli technology and the Vietnamese dairy industry (helped by Israeli technology), Georgian crops (saved by Israeli plants and seed technology) and anything Peruvian (assisted by Israeli hydro-electricity). It would also affect Israeli-developed water-saving and sewage treatment technology used across more than half of the planet, which helps make Australia an "effluent society" (as Gough Whitlam once put it).

Disaster relief has employed Israeli resources and technical assistance in the Congo, Angola, Romania, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Haiti, the Chilean mine disaster, the Christchurch earthquake and humanitarian disasters in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Chad, Sudan and Malawi.

That's OK. We can just ask Bono and Bob Geldof to stage a few more rock concerts.

Finally, if the boycott affected economists with links to Israel through teaching, visiting, honorary degrees or joint research, we would have to stop teaching the textbooks of many Nobel prize-winning economists. Think Samuelson, Fischer, Solow, Friedman, Arrow, Klein, Liebenstein, Kahn, Sraffa, Kaldor, Lerner, Krugman, Feldstein, Kindleberger and many more. It would wipe out most of our human capital in economics and the social sciences in general.

The net result? The boycott would hurt the poor and the sick and undermine food security and the campaign to end world hunger, which would undermine efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Middle East. At best the boycott is ridiculous; at worst, it is sinister and anti-Semitic (judging by comments made on social media). I am very proud that my employer, UNSW, has said that although it encourages free expression and open debate on campus (that is lawful, respectful and responsible), it deplores all forms of racism and anti-Semitism. We must ensure university campuses remain tolerant, safe, diverse and respectful in the true Australian democratic tradition.

Tim Harcourt is the JW Nevile fellow in economics at the University of NSW's Australian School of Business. 

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