AN EXCERPT FROM DEMOCRACY NOW.
AMY GOODMAN: Last year, Stephen Hawking said that President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement will cause avoidable environmental damage. This is Hawking speaking to the BBC ahead of a birthday conference in Cambridge, which was organized to mark his 75th birthday.
STEPHEN HAWKING: We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulfuric acid. Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Hawking took a number of scientific and political stands. In 2013, stirred up quite a bit of controversy when he joined the academic boycott against Israel. Can you explain his position there, Kitty Ferguson?
KITTY FERGUSON: Well, he had been in Israel previous to this. I don't have the dates at hand exactly. But his last visit there, he had asked to also speak to a Palestinian audience, which he did. And then, the next time he was invited to go, his first reaction was: "Good, this will give me another chance to speak out for the Palestinians." But then, colleagues and, I think, some of his Palestinian physicist friends said a boycott would probably be more effective. And at that point, he decided not to attend any more conferences there. As far as I know, he's turned down two invitations, maybe more, coming from the president of Israel. So, this has been a very strong cause for him.
I have to say that he's been accused of boycotting things in Israel and not boycotting things in other countries that also have civil rights problems, such as China. I have to say, I've never in all my years detected anything anti-Semitic about him. So I think any kind of accusations on those grounds are unfounded. I personally wouldn't write about anybody who was vocally anti-Semitic.