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BREAKING – JISOC’s response to cancelling of Israel – Palestine event

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.


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Comments (7)

  • I am not sure that the academics know the difference between a debate and the kangaroo court

    “Jewish Voice for Peace endorses the call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as part of our work for freedom, justice and equality for all people. We believe that the time-honored, non-violent tools proposed by the BDS call provide powerful opportunities to make that vision real.

    We join with communities of conscience around the world in supporting Palestinians, who call for BDS until the Israeli government:

    Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantles the Wall; recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

    In the long and varied history of Jewish experience, we are inspired by those who have resisted injustice and fought for freedom. We strive to live up to those values and extend that history. By endorsing the call, we make our hope real and our love visible and we claim our own liberation as bound with the liberation of all.”

  • Billy Perrigo

    Well said!

  • As a Jew myself, I find it very problematic that the society calls itself Jewish Israel – which by definition is an exclusionary and racial term. I hate the fact that the state Israel has appropriated Jewishness and turned it into a means of exclusion and violence. I find myself in agreement with the boycott which makes me for many Israeli nationalists a self-loathing Jew. I don’t care, what it means to be a Jew has a much richer history than these nationalists prescribe. In other words, “Oy ir Narishe Tsienistn” (Oh You Foolish Little Zionists)

    • If you feel so strongly why do you prefer to be anonymous?

      • this is awful logic? how is someone’s point invalidated by their anonymity? this is a contentious issue – it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to not want their name tied to their opinion on the internet where future employers etc can see

  • Completely agree with the author. No matter your opinions on the matter, an agreement and understanding won’t come by exclusion and a call to boycott anything Israeli.

    It’s a complex issue and people want to make it one dimensional. People in Palestine and Israel naturally have different opinions on the matter, but the groups are not as homogeneous as people want to perceive them as. The way forward is through conversation and debate. It is not going to be painless for either part, but the situation right now is not optimal.

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