This is a serious blow for Israel. When someone of Professor Hawking's standing globally decides against visiting Israel on the grounds of the abuse of Palestinians then that is big news. While the die-hard tribalists will try to diffuse this by such cliched means as defaming Hawking, I have no doubt that many in Israel and amongst the lobby in the US / Europe / Canada will be worried. They should be.
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Preliminary report: Shooting attack in East Jerusalem's Damascus Gate (Haaretz)
from the article: Stephen Hawking boycotts Israeli academic conference, Guardian reports