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The only logical conclusion that can be derived from Stephen Hawking’s decision to join the academic boycott of , coupled with his enthusiastic visits to Iran and China, is that he actively endorses and supports the repression practiced by the Iranian mullahs and the Chinese party bosses. Why else would he single out the world’s only Jewish state for his academic boycott?

Prior to the cancelation of his academic talk in , it might have been argued that his visits to Iran and China reflected not support for the regimes but rather a neutral approach to academics, or a refusal to participate in academic boycotts. No longer can this justification work. The only possible justification for distinguishing between on the one hand and Iran and China on the other hand would be if ’s actions were worse than those of Iran and China. Only a knave or a fool would believe that to be so. ’s academies are among the most open, diverse and free in the world. Israeli universities have affirmative action programs for Palestinians and other minorities. Political dissenters receive tenure and thrive at Israeli universities.

The very concept of an Iranian university is an oxymoron. There are no free and open places of learning in that repressive theocracy. Dissenters are not given tenure; they are murdered, after first being tortured. Blasphemy, which is broadly defined, is punished. Gays are not only excluded from Iranian universities, but are imprisoned and killed. Women are oppressed. Baha’is are persecuted and killed. There is no freedom in Iran—a country that is seeking to develop nuclear weapons so that they can wipe the State of off the map.

Yet Iran is a country that Stephen Hawking visited. He did not boycott that Islamic country. He limited his boycott to the democratic nation state of the Jewish people.

Not only did Steven Hawking visit China, he praised it effusively. Although Chinese universities are considerably better than Iran’s, there is no real freedom to criticize the government or the Communist party. The people who brought us Tiananmen Square still hold positions of authority in China. Dissidents are persecuted. There is no semblance of fair trial. Censorship reigns.

Yet Stephen Hawking did not boycott China. He boycotted only – the only country of these three with real academic freedom and the only country where people with disabilities are fully-integrated, first-class citizens of society. In China, many disabled children are aborted due to the country’s one-child policy. In Iran many disabled people are kept hidden within families because of prevalent cultural taboos.

Israeli universities have an unmatched record of developing devices that assist people with disabilities in their daily tasks. Ironically, Israeli universities have developed the very microchips that allow people suffering from motor neurone disease, like Stephen Hawking, to communicate. I do not know why Hawking, whose intellectual accomplishments are beyond reproach, uses these devices now to call for the boycott of the very country that enables to him to communicate in the first place. But we have long ago learned that people who are brilliant in some areas may be utter fools in other areas.

The burden is now on Steven Hawking to justify on the face of what looks like a double standard, hypocrisy and bigotry. If were not the nation state of the Jewish people, I do not believe Hawking would participate in a boycott against it. Has he stood up for the right of the Chechnyas against Russia? Has he championed the rights of the Armenians against Turkey? Did he protest America’s policies in Afghanistan when he accepted the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama? Was he on the forefront of opposing Britain’s repressive actions against those seeking independence for Ireland? I do not remember hearing his voice when genocides were being committed in Rwanda, Darfur, and Cambodia. But now suddenly, having accepted an invitation to participate in an academic conference sponsored by the peace-loving President of , Shimon Peres, Hawking has become the most famous and visible face of an academic boycott directed at the Middle East’s only democracy and only country where academic freedom prevails.

Nor can Hawking’s argue that his joining of the academic and cultural boycott against Israel is simply a demonstration of his disapproval of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. The boycott movement that he joined opposes the very existence of the state of Israel and applies only to Jewish citizens of Israel, not to its Arab citizens.

J’accuse Stephen Hawking of bigotry. Let him defend his actions in the court of public opinion. I don’t think he will be able to.

I don’t know whether Hawking is a fool or a knave. Perhaps he is simply an ignoramus who didn’t bother to learn the fact at first hand and simply followed the bigoted British academic crowd in lemming like fashion. Let him explain. Let him try to justify but do not allow him to remain silent in the face of these serious accusations of double standard, hypocrisy and bigotry.

For shame Stephen Hawking. History will not remember you kindly for your foolish foray into the oldest of bigotries.

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Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School has been described by Newsweek as "the nation's most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer and one of its most distinguished defenders of individual rights." Time magazine, in addition to including him on the cover story on the "50 Faces for the Future," called him "the top lawyer of last resort in the country -- a sort of judicial St. Jude." Business Week characterized him as "a feisty civil libertarian and one of the nation's most prominent legal educators." He has been profiled by every major magazine ranging from Life ("iconoclast and self-appointed scourge of the criminal justice system"); to Esquire ("the country's most articulate and uncompromising protector of criminal defendants"); to Fortune ("impassioned civil libertarian" who has "put up the best defense for a Dickensian lineup of suspects"); to People ("defense attorney extraordinaire") and to New York Magazine ("One of the country's foremost appellate lawyers"). More than 50 of his articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine Book Review, and Op- Ed Pages. He has also published more than 100 articles in magazines and journals such as The Washington Post, The New Republic, Saturday Review, The Harvard Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. Syndicated, more than 300 of his articles have appeared in 50 United States daily newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Herald, and The Chicago Sun Times. His essay "Shouting Fire" was selected for inclusion in "The Best American Essays of 1990." Mr. Dershowitz is the author of a dozen fiction and non-fiction works. His writing has been praised by Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, William Styron, David Mamet, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua and Elie Wiesel. More than a million of his books have been sold worldwide. Professor Dershowitz's latest book is a novel, The Trials of Zion (2010). His book, Preemption: The Knife that Cuts Both Ways, was published by WW Norton in February 2006. Titles among his other books include: The Case For Peace (2005), America On Trial (2004), The Case For Israel (2003), and Why Terrorism Works (2002), Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000, Letters to a Young Lawyer, and Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age. The Advocate's Devil was published by Warner Books in 1994. The New York Times Book Review gave Dershowitz's first novel "A thumbs up verdict...exciting, fast paced, entertaining." The Times hailed this courtroom thriller as "a dazzling, often rather graphic portrayal of that greatest of all oxymorons -- legal ethics." The Advocate's Devil was made into a Tri-Star television movie. Also in 1994, Little, Brown & Company published The Abuse Excuse, a provocative collection of essays examining the relationship between individual responsibility and the law. His other full-length publications include Contrary to Popular Opinion, Chutzpah, Taking Liberties: A Decade of Hard Cases, Bad Laws, and Bum Raps, Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bulow Case, and The Best Defense. Professor Dershowitz's writings have been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, and other languages. His clients have included Anatoly Shcharansky, O.J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Michael Milken, Jonathan Pollard, Leona Helmsley, Jim Bakker, Christian Brando, Mike Tyson, Penthouse, Senator Mike Gravel, Senator Alan Cranston, Frank Snepp, John Landis, John DeLorean, David Crosby, Dr. Peter Rosier, Wayne Williams, Fred Wiseman, Patricia Hearst, Harry Reems, Stanley Friedman, the Tyson brothers, various death row inmates, Rabbi Meir Kahane, and numerous lawyers including F. Lee Bailey and William Kunstler. He has been a consultant to several presidential commissions and has testified before congressional committees on numerous occasions. In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his "compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights." In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: "If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different." He has been awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree by Yeshiva University, the Hebrew Union College, Monmouth College, and Haifa University. The New York Criminal Bar Association honored Professor Dershowitz for his "outstanding contribution as a scholar and dedicated defender of human rights." Alan Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, graduated from Yeshiva University high school and Brooklyn College. At Yale Law School, he was first in his class and editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After clerking for Chief Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg, he was appointed to the Harvard Law faculty at age 25 and became a full professor at age 28, the youngest in the school's history. Since that time, he has taught courses in criminal law, psychiatry and law, constitutional litigation, civil liberties and violence, comparative criminal law, legal ethics and human rights. He has lectured throughout the country and around the world -- from Carnegie Hall to the Kremlin. Professor Dershowitz continues to play basketball, regularly attends Boston Celtics home games, and occasionally comments on the Boston sports scene. In his speeches, versatile civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz addresses social, legal and ethical issues:     Legal Issues: 'Why Good Lawyers Defend Bad Clients,' and 'Global Perspectives on Justice and Civil Liberties'        Social Issues: 'Religion Politics and the Constitution,' and 'The Genesis of Justice'        Ethics and Values: 'Does Organized Religion Have an Answer to the Problems of the 21st Century,' and 'Legal and Moral Struggles; Unpopular Cases and Causes'    Professor Dershowitz resides in Boston. Copyright 2005, The Harry Walker Agency, Inc. All Rights Reserved.