The Bank of England wants nominations for the person who will be featured on the new £50 note. They want someone who has contributed to British science. It cannot be a living person. The deadline for nominations is 14 December.
Many people will nominate Stephen Hawking who died in March this year. But Hawking was a BDS supporter. In 2013, despite using Israeli technology in his communications equipment, he capitulated to the BDS movement and boycotted a conference in Jerusalem honouring Shimon Peres. In 2009 he condemned the defensive Israeli military operation in Gaza, saying it was “plain out of proportion… The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue.”
The choice of Hawking would be a kick in the teeth for the 90%+ of UK Jews who support Israel – moreover at a time when they are already under an extent of antisemitic pressure unprecedented in recent years. There are many good alternative candidates to nominate. Alan Turing stands out. He was a brilliant mathematician whose work at Bletchley Park helped to shorten the War by an estimated two years thus saving countless lives. Because he was gay he was treated atrociously after the War, being charged with ‘gross indecency’. He received a posthumous pardon but that’s not enough. He should have had an Honour in his lifetime and the new £50 note provides an ideal chance for a posthumous honour. (By the way Bletchley Park is well worth a visit – your ticket is valid for unlimited return visits for a year).
Others you might think about nominating: Sir Alexander Fleming, the Nobel Laureate who discovered penicillin (though the Bank might consider that he has had his turn because he appeared on a Scottish banknote issued by Clydesdale Bank).
Or Howard Florey, who developed penicillin – he was Australian but his Nobel Prizewinning work was at Oxford.
Or Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in the UK.
Lots more …..Einstein, Weizmann, Sir Ernst Chain ………
Anyone but a BDS advocate …………!