Palestinian solidarity organisation, BDS South Africa, welcomes the announcement of Professor Peter Higgs (84) as one of the 2013 Nobel Prize winners. Higgs, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics (with Francois Englert) is a vocal and principled supporter of the academic boycott of Israel. In 2004 Higgs was awarded Israel's "Wolf Prize in Physics" but he refused to fly to Israel to receive the award because it was a State occasion attended by the then president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, and because Higgs felt that it would imply support of Israeli policies against the Palestinians which he opposed (Wikipedia: http://tinyurl.com/cert4v9
and About.com: http://tinyurl.com/nyqhr5y
Britain’s Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium won the Nobel Prize for physics last Tuesday (08 October) for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson particle (the so called "God particle", named after Higgs) that explains how elementary matter attains mass to form stars and planets. Half a century after their original work, the new building block of nature (the Higgs boson) was finally detected in 2012 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) centre’s giant, underground particle-smasher near Geneva. The discovery was hailed as one of the most important in physics (see: www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2013/press.html
“I am overwhelmed to receive this award,” Higgs said in a statement issued by the University of Edinburgh, where he has worked for many years.
Higgs, joins a growing list of scientists, authors, academics and artists that are boycotting Israel due to Israel's policies against the Palestinians and in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self determination. Earlier this year, fellow physicist and scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, made world-wide news when he -also a staunch critic of Israel's policies against the Palestinians- cancelled a scheduled Israeli appearance after receiving advice from Palestinian academics to boycott Israel (New York Times: http://tinyurl.com/mcgbbee
Khulekani Chiya, of BDS South Africa, welcomed the news that Higgs had won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics and added: "that Higgs also supports the Palestinian non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign makes him all the more cooler. Much respect to Professor Higgs!" Providing background to the boycott of Israel, Chiya explains: "In 2005, with Israeli discrimination, human rights abuses, violations of International Law and illegal Israeli settlement construction on the increase, Palestinians, inspired by the successful boycott and isolation of Apartheid South Africa, called on the international community to impose a non-violent program of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it respects international law and human rights. Palestinians, in their call for BDS, laid out three demands that Israel needs to meet. Firstly, an end to the illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine and the dismantling of Israel's 'Apartheid' Wall. Secondly, respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. And, thirdly, for Israel to ensure full equality for Palestinian citizens in Israel (www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro
). The BDS campaign is not a malicious, blunt or punitive one which is out to punish Israelis but rather, it is a practical, non-violent, goal-orientated and focused campaign entrenched in international law. A campaign that is also increasingly supported by (progressive) Israelis themselves. The international isolation of Israel will lead to the necessary conditions for a just peace to be negotiated - similar to what occurred in South Africa and brought about a democratic country for all our people. A democratic country for all, Palestinians and Israelis, is not only possible, but from our South African experience, we know, that it is inevitable."
Other high-profile academics and artists to have boycotted Israel and Israeli events in recent months include: celebrated author of "The Color Purple", Alice Walker; award-winning musician, Stevie Wonder; Pink Floyd frontman, Roger Waters; and film director, Mira Nair. Locally, in South Africa, the University of Johannesburg terminated its relations with Israel in 2011 and last year, Wits University's SRC adopted a university-wide academic boycott of Israel resolution.
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA