Tuesday, January 8, 2008 it's like they're doing it on purpose. Gluttons for controversy, the Union is hitting the old usual again:

Event Name: Middle East Debate

Start Date: 24th Jan 2008 8:30pm

Description: This House Believes That The State of Israel has a Right to Exist

In Proposition -

* Norman Finkelstein ['Hezbollah represents the hope']
* Prof Ted Honderich ['...the Palestinians have had a moral right to their terrorism as certain as was the moral right, say, of the African people of South Africa against their white captors and the apartheid state']

In Opposition -

* Ghada Karmi [One State Solution]
* Ilan Pappe ['Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts.']

At least the presence of Karmi and Pappe actually make sense. If I were in the area, I'd go.

My emailer writes: "I am puzzled, why hold a debate on Israel with four anti-Semites, two on each side?" It certainly is a devious way of moving the ground of the debate and defining where the acceptable terms lie, as well as creating a rather odd and artificial middle ground. (There's actually a name for this, or at least a principle someone defined that was making the rounds of the blogosphere discussion not long ago. I'm quite sure I linked to it, but for the life of me I can't recall the details at the moment...)

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Just another Oxford Union "debate". The event went off as planned...and expected. Report at the JPost: UCL professor: Terror 'Palestinians' moral right' In a lengthy and fiery debate at Oxford University over the weekend, the student union co... Read More


Wow! What a lineup. Sort of like a playoff game between the New York Yankees and the New York Yankees. Incidentally, all the participants either believe that Israel should be "dismantled" (in the way that the Jews of Europe were "dismantled") or employ the stalking-horse argument of the one-state solution. Enter Ghada Karmi, who gets published by Pluto Press, the world's first explicitly anti-semitic publisher since Ernst Zundel.

Ghada Karmi was an honored invitee to the Harvard Center for Middle East Studies last year to launch her book, "Married to Another Man", but failed to appear when she learned there might actually be some people who would challenge her eliminationist thesis.

AS someone on the Engage website put it succinctly:

"This is essentially a debate between antisemites: on one side, those who think that Jews should be allowed to exercise their Jewishness within a limited space - a ghetto, perhaps, or a Pale; and on the other, those who think that even that level of Jewish autonomy would be too dangerous."

They must use the NPR manual on balanced debates.

Let's debate Oxford's right to exist

This is the academic equivalent of a freak show,
an exhibition of intellectual rarities, "academic freaks" — such as unusually mediocre, lazy, self-indulgent, angry and frustrated humans, "thinkers" with humongous chips on their shoulders for their failure to be recognized for their gigantic intellects,and whose performance is expected to shock the viewers.

Discerning and decent people do not put up a freak show and do not go to see one.

"academic equivalent of a freak show"

Good way of putting it. I'd still probably pay my $.50, though. :)

"This House believes in the freedom of the President of the Oxford Union to get a lot of publicity on Sky TV by inviting ridiculous and unpleasant people as speakers"

For The Motion
President of the Union: Emily Pratt-In-Town
Treasurer of the Union: Luke Tory-Twitt

Also for the Motion
Mr Osama Bin Laden
President Robert Mugabe
The Late Adolf Hitler
Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mr Saddam Hussein (deceased)

Against the Motion
Everyone else

Members are invited to bring their own placards and to indulge in any form of behaviour which will result in photo opportunities for the President, Ms Emily Pratt-in-town

(with acknowledgement to Private Eye)

I'm sorry, but why is Finkelstein thought of here as an antisemite?

Finkelstein's obsession with Jewish power, hatred of Israel, willingness to truck with anyone, including Jew-hating terrorists like Hizballah and their TV outlet Al-Manar, complete lack of measure in his rhetoric and his pseudo-scholarly output that twists reality to justify his extreme political opinions would have him written off immediately as an anti-semitic crank were it not for his repeated mantra that "my parents were Holocaust survivors." Interesting that he bashes the overuse of the Holocaust in anyone who defends Jews, but wields it like a club when it comes to bashing them. That's for starters.

In response to comment #8, have you ever READ what the man has written? If you had done so, you would not have asked that question.


And one other thing, having these "scholars" debate the existence of Israel would be kind of like having Cindy Sheehan debate Michael Moore on the invasion of Iraq...............


Also like having Coulter, Limbaugh, and the other cheerleaders debate the importance of our victories in Iraq - women's rights, democracy in the region, the price of oil.

I'm surprised they didn't invite Jimmy Carter and R. David Israel Wiess, the guest Rabbi of Achmadinejad.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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