Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, places a premium on speaking at university campuses. The context? Israel’s uphill struggle to assuage a growing sense of frustration and anger at a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government seen as a serial violator of international law and human rights.
In October, Regev addressed Cambridge University students at its famous Debating Union. The event was recently uploaded onto YouTube, and of particular interest is the Q&A (beginning 27 minutes in). The questions are predominantly critical, or sceptical, and Regev has to shoot from the hip.
So here are three claims that the Israeli ambassador made in response to students’ questions – and an analysis of their accuracy. Read more
Last night, I participated in a debate at the Cambridge Union on ‘This House Believes Israel is a Rogue State.’ Speaking alongside Ghada Karmi and Norman Finkelstein for the proposition, the motion was carried by 51 percent to 19 percent – with a 7 percent swing from the pre-debate vote.
The debating chamber was packed, and the atmosphere charged. At the end of the debate, cries of ‘Free, Free Palestine’ rang out. But my main takeaway from the proceedings was the sheer weakness of the opposition’s arguments – a microcosm of pro-Israel propaganda that simply no longer works. Read more
In a full chamber, the Cambridge Union last Thursday hosted the motion ‘This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people”, an event labelled a “Jewish blood sport” by participant Ned Temko. The motion, which was carried by a small margin, was a good chance for Zionist apologists and their critics to showcase the best of their arguments.
Brian Klug, speaking in favour of the motion alongside Israeli journalist Daphna Baram and Chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians Richard Kuper, opened the proceedings. One of the recurrent themes of the evening were the repeated attempts to specify what this debate was not, with Klug pointing out that specific historical narratives, or potential future solutions, were not on the agenda. Later, Baram went further, stressing that the motion was not about the ‘right’ of Israel to exist as a state – but rather about the character of the state. Read more