It turns out that Stephen Hawking’s canceled trip to Israel is not a matter of boycotting the Jewish state, but rather merely a result of his health, according to a Cambridge University spokesman.
The Guardian, which broke the story late last night, claimed that Hawking was to boycott the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem next month, after the newspaper received a statement from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), which claimed that it had issued the announcement 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.” The story was then picked up by many leading news outlets around the world.
However, a University spokesman told The Algemeiner that Prof. Hawking’s cancellation was due to health issues.
“Professor Hawking will not be attending the conference in Israel in June for health reasons – his doctors have advised against him flying,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson earlier confirmed to The Commentator, which first reported the story, that the BRICUP organisation had “assumed” Hawking’s position on the matter, and that its claims were fundamentally untrue.
UPDATE: In an about-face, Cambridge University has now confirmed that Hawking is indeed boycotting Israel. For full article click here.