Israel denies visa for talk on decolonisation exposing Einstein

The Palestine Technical University, Kadourie, Palestine, is organizing the Sixth Palestinian Conference on Modern Trends in Mathematics and Physics PCMTMP-VI, 5th-8th August 2018.

I was invited to give two plenary talks (scheduled on 7th and 8th Aug) on
Decolonising mathematics: how and why it makes science better (and enables students to solve harder problems)

An extended summary and abstract of my proposed talk are posted online.

The Israeli embassy has, however, refused me a visa. No official reason or explanation was offered for the denial of visa. When I asked, an official from the Israeli embassy did very rudely warn me not to apply ever again for an Israeli visa.

Now five years ago, I visited Palestine (See blog post “Mathematics in refugee camps”, and a nice video on History and Philosophy of science). Of course, I did have a terrible experience with the Israelis: they charged me some USD 200 for a taxi for 8.5 km, then put me on a share taxi and promised to give the receipt after I crossed the border! Never encountered such terrible cheats anywhere else in the world. But last time the Israeli embassy in India had issued me a visa.

So, I am left wondering what has changed. Three things have changed. 1. Decolonisation, 2. Einstein, and 3. Indo-Israeli relationship

1. Decolonisation

First, my talk is quite explicitly about a (non-violent) remedy for colonisation. As a colonial state, Israel keeps taking over Palestinian lands and displacing Palestinians. When Palestinians protest, they are violently attacked, as we constantly hear. But watch the news: Israel always claims that the violence is in retaliation. Moral violence, eh?

But the denial of a visa shows that even non-violent remedies against colonisation are not permitted. Colonisation involves capture of the minds of a sizeable section of the colonised, so the coloniser tries to stop decolonisation by “other means”.

A common method is censorship. By denying a visa all that happens is that I am prevented from talking at a scientific conference. Such censorship is typically justified by giving some silly and unacceptable bureaucratic reason. Had there been any genuine reason, why did the embassy not state them up front?

This is similar to the censorship of my article in South Africa (now in Rhodes Must Fall, Zed Books). Last year, racist whites there used other devious means to try to stop decolonisation and silence my voice. In South Africa blacks were treated as inhumanely as Palestinians are treated by Israelis. Any crime can be justified: presumably to justify their own racism Israel was a staunch supporter of apartheid South Africa.

2. Einstein

However, apart from colonisation and racism, the present case has a new factor: Einstein. Einstein was such a beloved Israeli idol that he was asked to be the first President of Israel. He responded that he was “deeply moved”, and “ashamed” that he could not accept the offer. Einstein was an ardent Zionist, and wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 June 1947 that “Long before… Hitler, I had made the cause of Zionism mine”. He wanted to persuade Nehru that Zionism was ethical because Jews were similar to “Hindu untouchables”. Nehru did not buy Einstein’s foolish analogy. (Jews are the richest community in the US, with 44% having an annual household income more than USD 100,000.)

Now, of course, my decolonisation talk did not concern Einstein’s Zionism (or his well-known misogyny etc.). But it did centrally concern the special and general theories of relativity, both wrongly credited to Einstein. Einstein fraudulently grabbed credit for special relativity from Poincare, and for general relativity from Hilbert. This has been my position for the last 25 years and is clearly stated in my books Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 1994) and The Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage 2003) with ample quotations from Poincare and Hilbert.

Most people understand only the historical point about Einstein’s plagiarism; but my point has always been primarily a point about physics: that Einstein made a serious mathematical error in understanding the theory of relativity. Hence, a correction is required to present-day physics (not only history). The point about correcting physics was repeated in my more recent series of six articles (2013-16) in Physics Education (India) on “Functional Differential Equations” (for details see:, now forthcoming as a book.

Common people, including a surprisingly large number of physicists, do not understand the theory of relativity or functional differential equations. But knowledgeable people do understand what I am saying and know that I am right. Indeed, in 2005, on the centenary of Einstein’s special relativity paper, the American Mathematical Society invited Sir Michael Atiyah, former President of the Royal Society London, to give an “Einstein lecture”. He endorsed my views (but added “Don’t forget that I suggested it”)! Even after I informed him, he again tried to grab credit for my important work: he later got some cronies to write a prominent article about his speech, naming it as “Atiyah’s hypothesis” (not “Einstein’s mistake”). The summary of my Palestine talk mentioned all this, and cited the belated acknowledgement of my work by Atiyah et al in 2007.)

The point of my talk was that decolonisation of math results in better science. One easy example of it is a better theory of gravitation. The special theory of relativity was all about correcting Newton’s confused and metaphysical notion of time. Seen this way, Newtonian gravitation should have been corrected and first made compatible with special relativity, before rushing into general relativity, as Einstein did. Doing that (making gravitation compatible with special relativity) results in my new theory of gravitation, called retarded gravitation theory, which is formulated using functional differential equations. A simple experimental consequence of my new theory of gravitation is that the rotation of the Earth will slightly affect the motion of nearby satellites in a way inexplicable on general relativity (or Newtonian gravitation); this can be easily tested using my proposed two satellite experiment (though I don’t have the money to carry out the experiment, and on the colonial standard, good science = Western endorsement, not likely to be forthcoming).

But Israel would rather deny me a visa, than risk having their Zionist idol, Einstein, being proved to be scientifically wrong. That’s Israel’s method of doing science!

What exactly does this critique of Einstein have to do with decolonisation? Newton made that conceptual mistake about time (making it metaphysical and speaking of “fluxions”) just because he failed to understand the Indian calculus (stolen from India by Cochin-based Jesuits, as first established in my book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, Pearson Longman, 2007). Newton accepted the Western superstitions that mathematics is exact (since eternal truth), hence thought that the exact sum of an infinite series must be obtained metaphysically. And we repeat that mistake today by teaching calculus in the wrong colonial way using metaphysical formal “real” numbers and limits (as I too once did, long ago, for several years, in Pune University).

To decolonise, one must revert to teaching the original Indian calculus in our universities, instead of its Western misunderstanding. This results in better science, of course, as above, but also makes math easier and enables students to solve harder problems as I have demonstrated in teaching experiments over the last decade.

But colonial Israel wants to interfere in the Palestinian education system. It implicitly opposes making math better and easier for Palestinians to enable them to solve harder math problems. Hence, also, I was denied a visa.

3. Indo-Israeli relationship

The third thing that has changed since my last visit to Israel (apart from Trump) is the Indo-Israeli relationship. Back in 2013, Indian policy was different. But now Israel is our friend. Well, our “friends” have just shown their total disrespect for one of the high achievements of Indian culture: the Indian calculus. And they want to impose an effective boycott on our meeting and interacting with our other Palestinian friends even in a scientific conference. They object only to Israelis being boycotted like South Africa in apartheid days.

Stab in the back
Let me close with an anecdote about my experience with an Israeli “friend”. An Israeli citizen and a popular-level historian of mathematics, Amir Aczel, stabbed me in the back. He pretended to be my friend (because he needed my help to check the Gwalior inscription on zero). In his last book (Finding Zero) he has a few pages on me along with my photograph and some comments. He missed my 2015 talk at MIT on “Calculus: the real story”. Instead, he met me in Harvard Square, and gifted me a copy of his book on zero, inscribing it to “My friend…”.

However, in a video of a promotion event for the same book he ridiculed me, falsely accusing me of claiming that everything was invented in India including the theory of relativity! This blatant falsehood, of course, shows that Israeli historians are not competent enough to refute anything I have really said about Einstein, and therefore use dirty tricks to preserve their idol: Einstein.

This is a systematic method Zionist historians use for propaganda: for Abraham Pais followed the same method. In his biography of Einstein, Pais told brazen lies about Poincare (so brazen that it prompted me to explore the history of Einstein, in the first place). (And, as I said in my Palestine abstract, I am not getting into the more recent historical scandal about Hilbert and Einstein involving other Israeli historians of science.)

Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestine are worse than those of apartheid South Africa. Why? Because after committing atrocities, Israel invariably whines that it is the victim. Unlike South Africa which was boycotted, Israel enforces a boycott of Palestine, as if the Palestinians have done something wrong. And on top of that they complain if they are boycotted. Clearly, the only morality that Israeli’s understand is the morality of total self-interest.

What kind of friends are these who prevent us from meeting our friends, show such disrespect for our tradition? With friends like this who needs enemies? Should we not open our eyes and expect a similar stab in the back with big defence contracts? Like my Israeli taxi, the will probably grossly overcharge us and then whine that they were wronged. They could easily embed all sorts of malware in it: suits their self interest doesn’t it?

Madam Sushma Swaraj are you listening?

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