Perhaps the most famous living scientist is backing out of a major conference in Jerusalem over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Stephen Hawking came under pressure from an international campaign, but says he made the decision after hearing from his contacts in Palestinian academia.
Vice President Joe Biden went a-courtin’ in Israel on Tuesday, meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in an effort to bring the U.S. and Israel closer and “allay that layer of mistrust that has built up in the last several years,” as Biden put it.
Israel has always believed in “creating facts on the ground,” whose existence may later come as an unpleasant surprise to others. Iran now seems to have learned from this Israeli precedent, to Israel’s disadvantage.
Have the American media become too fixated on AIG and its nefarious bonuses—at the cost of focusing too little on the whereabouts of the other gajillions of dollars doled out in bailout funds? What’s to become of Timothy Geithner? And how about those warm New Year’s wishes that winged their way to the people of Iran from the U.S. and Israel?