Now, one year later, Marshall Barnes is issuing a follow-up statement as to what the results of Hawking's decision have been and what was lost at the same time...
"One year ago today, the world learned that Stephen Hawking was going to join a boycott of Israel due to "pressure from Palestinian colleagues". I was so appalled by his decision that I wrote to the Office of the President's Conference to voice my opposition to his choice. As you will read from the press release that was issued by me last year, containing a good portion of that email, I opposed his joining the boycott because I knew that he had squandered an excellent opportunity to actually make a difference by addressing what his vision might be for Middle East Peace. After all, as we have all been told incessantly, he's the greatest mind on the planet, our generation's Einstein. Right?
"Well, what results toward resolving issues in the Middle East did this
"Einstein" get for his boycott? He got exactly what I knew he would get - absolutely nothing. To expect anything else would be foolish, ignorant, asinine. Oh, but shouldn't Hawking have figured this out with his near infinite intellect? Shouldn't he have realized the greater impact he would have had by saying he would show up only if he could speak on his concerns in the region? Consider that for a second. If Israel had turned him down on those conditions, that would have put the egg on their face and he would have looked somewhat heroic then. And if Israel had allowed him to proceed, then he would have had a major platform for expressing his views and many would have tuned in live to hear them (I mean why not have it televised, it would have been somewhat of a historical moment). That would have resulted in further debate and possibly more discussion about possible resolutions or making more steps in that direction which have yet to be considered. Perhaps, I'm giving him too much credit for what he would have said, since I don't know for sure, but the opportunity was there to say something positive, inspiring even. Something above the current level and mindset that grasps the region in its diabolical choke hold. But no. Instead, these simple public relations calculations were too complex for Hawking to compute, and so he went with the obvious move for him to make - he punted and stayed home. So much for the greatest mind on the planet!
"To be quite honest, I don't believe that Hawking has any vision at all for what to do about the Palestinian issue, and why should he? In fact, his isn't the greatest mind on the planet at all and he is in no position to pontificate to the rest of us about anything. But now we have the proof of his lack of genius in general, after all, this whole scenario wasn't rocket science and he should have consulted with his PR handlers before making this monstrous goof.
"I won't repeat what I wrote last year (you can read it all below) but I will say this - the situation with the Palestinian conflict is too important for these stupid little policy games that Hawking allowed himself to be pulled into (notice how Hawking's Palestinian colleagues blew it as well. After all it was their dumb idea...). And so we have lost an opportunity to possibly elevate the discussion to a completely different level, to get it away from the politicians and get outside input that might be useful. To suggest alternative directions that might be more productive than the same old tired malarkey, like boycotts and violence. It was just too much heavy lifting for Hawking's mind to muster, obviously.
"So now we at least know with certainty that that just wasn't possible - because Hawking wasn't up to it. He wasn't up for the decision making, he wasn't up for the intellectual discourse and he certainly didn't have the vision or the imagination to even think what might have been possible if he had only grasped the opportunity.
"So much for the greatest mind on the planet. Then again, the Discovery Channel, who coined that phrase, never actually said which planet. Well, now we at least know it's not this one..."
That is Marshall's statement in its entirety. However, in last year's statement, he eloquently went into much more detail concerning what he saw was being lost by Hawking's decision to boycott the President's Conference. For example, Marshall spoke of his participation with the International Space Development Conference where the focus was on a peaceful future, exploring space and international cooperation (see http://www.prlog.org/
Marshall Barnes continues to be concerned, not only by events in the Middle East - but elsewhere in the world where he feels that lack of vision and political will, continue to rule and ruin the planet, as well as far too many lives.