Dear Prof. Stephen Hawking,
The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) thanks you for taking the principled course of action: publicly refusing to participate in Israel’s presidential conference, chaired by the notorious war criminal Shimon Peres. Our own recent history as Jews vividly presents to us the culpable role of those who merely stay silent in the face of state-organized racism and violence.
We further commend your decision to publicize the reasons for your withdrawal in a form that conveys your understanding that the primary obligation of people of conscience everywhere is to listen to Palestinians who suffer Israel’s oppression and act in solidarity based on their analysis and demands. Your actions set an example for conscientious engagement as a scientist and as a public figure. We hope that your example will inform and in turn move more scientists, intellectuals, and artists to action.
As with others who followed the same course, in the coming days many powerful people will subject you to a barrage of abuse. The primary purpose of this barrage is to frighten others who might want to emulate you but do not feel as confident in their ability to withstand the public attempts of character assassination. We therefore also write to you to encourage others. While those who appreciate what you did do not hold high office nor own newspapers and TV channels, we are the majority of humanity and we deeply appreciate you.
The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network