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Anger in Israel over Hawking's decision to join boycott: 'Outrageous and improper'

There is anger in Israel following Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott the President Conference due to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Israeli Presidential Conference Chairman Israel Maimon said today that:

“The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.”

Maimon also noted that among those who will attend the conference will be former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev and former British PM Tony Blair.

UPDATE: A University of Cambridge spokesperson told AP that Hawking canceled his visit “due to health reasons.”

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