Hawking, 71, world-renowned theoretical physicist, had agreed to headline the fifth annual president’s conference, Facing Tomorrow, which this year will celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday.

A statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking’s approval said the reason was “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there”.

Hawking’s decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions, reports The Guardian.

In the weeks since Hawking’s participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, he was bombarded with messages from boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind. Hawking  was persuaded, and  decided to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues.

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