One of the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, George P. Smith, is a veteran supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and a pro-Palestinian activist. The professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia was named Wednesday as a co-winner of the prestigious award for his efforts in harnessing evolution to produce new enzymes and antibodies.
Due to his political views, Smith is a controversial figure on the university campus and a target of pro-Israeli groups. He attracted controversy in 2015 when he attempted to teach an honors tutorial on “Perspective of Zionism,” a discipline which is outside of his field.
The course was supposed to have “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Israeli historian and anti-Zionist Ilan Pappe as a central text. Nevertheless, due to protest by pro-Israeli groups, his course was canceled citing, “lack of enrollment”.
He was also brought to public attention in the controversial pro-Israeli website “Canary Mission,” which “exposes” pro-Palestinian professors, students, and campus speakers.
He expressed his opinion about the Palestinian issue in various forums. For example, in April, he wrote an opinion piece condemning Israeli actions in Gaza and identifying himself as a member of Mid-Missourians for Justice in Palestine and the Missouri Right to Boycott coalition.
Smith has defined his position as, "not wishing Israeli-Jewish population to be expelled but to witness the end of Palestinian sufferings and Jewish ethnic sovereignty over other people."
Smith called the BDS movement, “Palestinian civil society’s call for the global community of conscience to ostracize Israeli businesses and institutions until Israel repudiates Dayan’s abhorrent syllogism and the Palestinian people, and achieve full equality with Jews in their shared homeland.”