Stephen Hawking has decided to pull out of an invitation to a conference hosted by Israel’s Shimon Peres for the Israeli President’s 90th birthday. Mr. Hawking has made it clear over the past number of years that he will not condone the way Israel treats Palestine, and has advocated for real movements towards peace with Hamas. The world-renown professor linked the struggles in the Middle East to a similar nature of those in other areas of the world, including Britain and Ireland, which eventually needed to be settled through direct talks and relations between the two parties. The tensions in the Middle East have reached a tipping point with an increase in military attacks, lack of peace efforts, and wide-spread belief of hate. If peace cannot be reached, many fear that a fully fledged war will erupt, further perpetuating the violence.
From a social justice standpoint, how do you combat this cultural stance? It may take a long time, and it is true that even in places where change has occurred the residual feelings can still be found. Those like Stephen Hawking are taking a stand that peace must be ensured through efforts other than violence. Earlier this year, an organization in Israel called “Israel Loves Iran” was attempting to promote talks not bombs. In November, Palestine was granted a non-member observer status in the United Nations, a message that was hoped to send a message of hope for their citizens. The next step will need to be a multi-point effort to bring about peace for these two countries. The alternative could mean war which will not bring about any social justice.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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