An American Nobel laureate has cancelled a planned visit to a London university because of what he perceives to be "a widespread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic current in British opinion", the Guardian newspaper reported Thursday.
Steven Weinberg, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, had been invited to Imperial College to speak in honor of a Pakistani physicist, Abdus Salam, and to deliver a talk at a conference on particle physics.
In a letter to his host at Imperial, Michael Duff, Professor Weinberg said he was withdrawing from the trip, which was due to take place in July
He said his decision was triggered by an agreement by the National Union of Journalists at its national conference to boycott Israeli products.
He wrote: "I know that some will say that these boycotts are directed only against Israel, rather than generally against Jews.
"But given the history of the attacks on Israel and the oppressiveness and aggressiveness of other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, boycotting Israel indicated a moral blindness for which it is hard to find any explanation other than ant-Semitism."
This is the second time Professor Weinberg, who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1979, has cancelled a visit to a UK university because of Israeli boycotts, the Guardian reported.
In 2006 he called off a trip to a conference at the University of Durham following the boycott of Israeli academics by the then lecturers' union Natfhe.
His decision comes a week before members of the University and College Union are to call for an academic boycott of Israel at their inaugural annual conference.