This piece is authored by Sam Shindler-Glass, on behalf of the the Jewish-Israeli Society. The Boar does not take a position on this issue, and the piece is published without comment.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n behalf of the Warwick Jewish-Israeli Society, we believe that the lead up to the International Relations Society’s cancelled event Question Time: Israel and Palestine revealed some very troubling features of the argument against Israel.
The desire to silence the Israeli voice is completely unacceptable. On one Facebook group, a user wrote ‘This is by no means… an attempt to censor discussion around the Israel/Palestine debate (which we strongly encourage).’ However this post says that Yiftah Curiel, who was due to speak at the event, should not be allowed on campus. This is clearly contradictory.
The desire to silence the Israeli voice is completely unacceptable.
How do you promote debate if you deny the presence of one side of the debate? You can’t. This is indicative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. By silencing the Israeli voice, they are able to further their highly questionable agenda by silencing the debate.
This is also apparent in the letter by the 18 Warwick academics. The University website says that there are 1,842 academics and researchers at the university. Therefore this letter has been signed by less that 1% of Warwick academics, hardly a representative sample size. On top of this, university academics have no place censoring what it is that students should hear and see on campus.
Therefore this letter has been signed by less that 1% of Warwick academics, hardly a representative sample size.
Students at Warwick University are perfectly mature enough and intelligent enough to make up their own minds on arguments. We do not need anyone to tell us what we cannot hear and who we cannot listen to. The academics’ letter in question claims to promote debate by stating that ‘debates in general are indispensable for rationally and logically debunking the other side’s propaganda and exposing their defence of indefensible violations of international law.’
However, once again, they then try to censor who is entitled to make the case for Israel. This is nonsensical and mendacious. It is censorship imposed upon the students. How can you claim you are interested in debate whilst constantly trying to shut it down? You can’t.
How can you claim you are interested in debate whilst constantly trying to shut it down? You can’t.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not clear-cut. It is a deeply complex situation that has arisen from decades of conflict. Debate would reveal this. And that is perhaps why some would rather silence debate. It is also difficult to see how banning an Israeli spokesperson would benefit the Palestinian people.
At the Warwick Jewish-Israel society we encourage debate and engagement with all sides. It is a great shame that some would have us ban certain individuals and deny other Warwick students the opportunity to discuss, debate, criticise, challenge and engage with an Israeli figure. The popularity of the event demonstrated that many students at Warwick were looking forward to the event and it is wrong for them to be denied this opportunity because certain people do not think it is appropriate for one or more speakers to be there. The cancellation left many of us disappointed and we hope the debate can be re-organised.
Warwick International Relations Society and Warwick Friends of Palestine have been contacted for a response.