Oxford Union Triumph - Near 40% say "Israel Force for Good in Middle East"


By Jonathan Hoffman
February 1, 2013
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The motion ‘This House Believes That Israel is a Force For Good in the Middle East’ was defeated 132-208 at the Oxford Union Debating Society last night. It was a good debate with none of the drama that has preceded some other Israel debates at the Union. For example in 2007 most of the external speakers pulled out after Norman Finkelstein was disinvited (the motion was “This House Believes that One State is the Only Solution to the Israel Palestine Conflict” and Finkelstein bizarrely was invited to speak against the motion). It was clear from the quality of the debate that a lot of hard work had gone into the evening by Union President Maria Rioumine and her colleagues.

http://www.thejc.com/97741/the-hebrew-speaking-head-oxford-union

For the motion were Ella Robertson, a student at Balliol; Alan Mendoza (Director, Henry Jackson Society, replacing Stephen Pollard at very short notice), Richard Perle (Asst Sec of Defence under President Reagan), and Lord David Trimble (Co-founder of Friends of Israel Initiative and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for helping secure peace in N Ireland). Against were Ghada Karmi, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Anna Baltzer (a pro-Palestinian campaigner in the US) and Peter Tatchell.

It’s well nigh impossible to win an Israel debate at a British University so to achieve nearly 40% of the vote is a great achievement. And the speakers for the motion were good. Ella Robertson spoke about Israel’s contribution to stability in the region, to democracy and liberalism and to the economy of the Middle East. Alan Mendoza pointed out that Israel produces weapons of peace eg Iron Dome which was possibly the main reason why the Israeli government did not feel obliged to commit ground forces in Operation Pillar of Defence last year. He contrasted Israel’s liberalism with Gaza where students have recently been forced to wear Islamic dress. Richard Perle suggested that the criticism from the opposition speakers was not criticism of Israel per se but criticism of Israel’s right to defend itself. Israel’s non-aggressive nuclear policy was proved by the fact that Saudi Arabia and Egypt would want a nuclear capability if Iran had one but they have never wanted one to counter Israel’s assumed nuclear capability.

Lord Trimble spoke of his own experience on the Turkel Committee. Cabinet papers had been made available to the Committee and moreover he had seen that all orders placed with Israeli coordinators by merchants in Gaza had been fulfilled. He said that Palestinian negotiators had failed even to respond to Olmert’s peace offer. If Israel was genuinely bent on enlarging its territory – as the opposition claimed - then it would have annexed Judea and Samaria years ago. When asked if they wanted to join a Palestinian State, Israeli Arabs expressed an overwhelming desire to stay in Israel.

From the opponents of the Motion came the usual fallacies:

From Ghada Karmi

-that the Haganah terrorised Arabs into fleeing in 1948 (wrong – as Efraim Karsh has shown, the majority of the Arab refugees did not flee in response to Jewish forces – the Mayor of Haifa even pleaded with them to stay);

-that Israel has ‘caused four wars’!;

-that Israel takes 80% of the water of Judea and Samaria – not true;

From a remarkably restrained Jenny Tonge

-that Islamic extremism is caused by Israel - nonsense, the Muslim Brotherhood – the first extremist organisation – was founded in 1930

Peter Tatchell showed three maps which purported to show that Israel had ‘grabbed land’ but in fact showed that Israel had successfully defended itself three times and had successively moved into more defensible areas. And he said “Jews deserve a homeland but not at the expense of the indigenous people” – but the fact is that Jews are an ‘indigenous people’ with practically unbroken presence near Jerusalem for thousands of years.

From Anna Baltzer we got the ‘apartheid’ comparison – she cited some South African Commission which concluded that Israel practises so-called ‘apartheid’. This of course is The Big Lie – otherwise why would most Israeli Arabs say that they would prefer to live in Israel than in a Palestinian State?

Omar Shweiki, a Palestinian, also spoke with passion against the motion from the floor.

http://www.cherwell.org/news/2008/11/21/protests-over-israeli-presidents...

Unfortunately there is not time in these debates to unpick some of the falsehoods. It is that - plus media bias plus the naïve perception of the Palestinians as ‘underdogs – which make motions like these so hard to win, however good the pro-Israel speakers.

But to get nearly 40% support for Israel at a British university in this day and age is a triumph.

COMMENTS

Rich Armbach

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 12:57

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-1 points

Amazing


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:03

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0 points

Jonathan probably thinks Little Big Horn was a tie.


Bonnie Prince C...

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:11

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-1 points

I regard this result as being equivalent to Scotland losing only 2-1 to Brazil in the first game of the World Cup in France (I forget the year) - especially since it took an own-goal to beat us!!!!

Kol Hakovod to all the speakers who represented us. Now what are we going to do to counter all the lies and distortions of our enemies? We need big-time action.


J.Clifford

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:39

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-3 points

I am surprised that Anna Baltzer took part in the debate having been to substantiate her claims regarding her background and credentials.


Macairt

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:45

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2 points

So basically we lost, and Jonathan celebrates. Great. He doesn't pause to think why we lost, and what lessons we have to learn. No, it's a glorious Massada.

Sorry. A defeat is a defeat, and if you don't wish to repeat it, you learn from it.

I think this is typical JH. No thinking, just talking.


Rich Armbach

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:47

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-1 points

But Scotland went on to win the world cup right ?


Macairt

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 13:59

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-1 points

Tatchel is saying it was defeat for Israel of 208:92

https://twitter.com/PeterTatchell/status/297324832863973376


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 14:35

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-3 points

The motion was defeated 132-208 - the Union Twitter feed will soon be corrected


Hannah

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 14:47

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-1 points

Only 40% huh? I guess we had better clean up our act.


zaheerayin

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 17:43

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-1 points

Mary in Brighton

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 17:51

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0 points

Oooh Jonathan on that beam in his Ahava shorts!


Ben F

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 10:00

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-1 points

happygoldfish

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 11:09

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1 point

Ben F: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/cleansing-the-jordan-valley-1.501255
http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org/

on the contrary, ben, see http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/HumanitarianAid/Palestinians/Health_treatment_...
Each year, Mrs. Dalia Bessa and her team approve tens of thousands of permits for patients and their escorts from the Judea and Samaria region in order to enable them to be treated in hospitals in Israel.
In 2008, 144,838 Palestinians entered Israel for medical treatment, and in 2009 there was a 20% increase, with 172,863 entries of Palestinians into Israel. A year later, in 2010, 175,151 Palestinians entered Israel for treatment, and in 2011, there was an increase of 13% - 197,713 entries of Palestinians. In 2012, there was an additional 6.5% increase, i.e. 210,469 Palestinians in need of medical care entered Israel in order to be treated in Israeli hospitals.
Moreover, during 2012, the Civil Administration financed life-saving medical treatments for 20 Palestinian children (marrow transplants, kidney transplants, purchase of a pump for P.N.T., prenatal diagnosis, impaired intestine surgery and baby obstruction) and more medical treatments worth more than 1,500,000 NIS per year.

A report published in 2012 by the World Health Organization (WHO) describes the coordination and liaison efforts invested by Israel and COGAT to facilitate the entry of Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. The key data presented in the report show that 91.5% of the applications which were filed, asking for medical treatment in Israel, were ultimately approved, 7.2% are pending security check and only 1.3% of the applications were rejected, demonstrating the importance and urgency ascribed to such applications by Israel.
In 2012, 16,553 Palestinians entered Israel from the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment in hospitals situated both in Israel and in the West Bank.
The Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, which is financed by the World Lutheran Federation, UNRWE, has established several mobile clinics which travel across the Judea and Samaria region and provide patients with medical treatment. The hospital operates the mobile clinics as part of a continuous commitment to cope particularly with diabetes and breast cancer among the Palestinian population, to optimize treatment and bring it to the patients and to the needy.
The health coordinator at the Civil Administration, Mrs. Dalia Bessa, has issued special movement permits for the mobile clinics and their staffs, in order to optimize the access of the different communities in the West Bank to the medical treatment they need. "We assist the hospitals in Jerusalem as much as we can to operate the mobile clinics with cancer, eye and diabetes specialists, in order to bring them to the inhabitants in need in all the villages situated far away from the cities," says Mrs. Dalia Bessa.

Harvey

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 11:12

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-3 points

Hannah
You need to factor in the negative effect of Yachad , without which you arrive at 70: 30 for Israel .


Rich Armbach

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 11:44

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-1 points

What has hospital treatment got to do with the de Arabising of area C in general and the Jordan Valley in particular ?


suzanna

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 15:54

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1 point

All those nations voting AGAINST Palestinian admission to the UN was a success too, according to this dim witted man.


suzanna

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 15:55

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1 point

Put your vote to one of these 'homemade vids'from US colleagues.


suzanna

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 16:05

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1 point

suzanna

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 16:14

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2 points

I don't know why I think this is relevant but I do.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8303231/Peter-Kosminsky-on...


Rich Armbach

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 17:54

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-2 points

You are too funny Harv. If it hadn't been for their goalkeeper we would have won.


joemillis1959

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 18:01

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-2 points

Harvey, I can understand where you are coming from. However, do you not think it strange that while Israeli ambassador to the UK, the excellent Daniel Taub, exhorted people at Limmud this year and last to engage with Israel through those organisations which best reflect our values? He named two organisations in particular; UK Taskforce, which helps alleviate the plight of, and fight against the discrimination against, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Yachad. Why should we take a stand that attacks an organisation that someone no less than the Israeli ambassador says we should work through?


Advis3r

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 09:20

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0 points

The problem Joe is who funds Yachad. Yachad is I am told funded by the New Israel Fund which in turn I am told is funded by Soros or should I write Tsoros because that's what Israel suffers when ever he has anything to do with it.


Rich Armbach

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 11:54

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-2 points

Yes Jose who funds what is not somewhere you want to go. For example someone might ask who funds the racist cess pit CifWatch. Oh yea CAMERA. But then someone might ask who funds CAMERA.


zaheerayin

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 11:58

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-2 points

You mean Adam Levick doesn't have a job?


Rich Armbach

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 12:16

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-2 points

Ha ha ha


zaheerayin

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 12:38

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-2 points

Ahhhh I see. Channel 4 are repeating The Promise tomorrow.


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 12:20

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-1 points

Advis3r

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 13:21

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0 points

Fake Zionist obviously CIF Watch and Camera are doing an excellent job since all you are reduced to is talking about cesspits - a subject (gauging by the level of your contributions to this website) on which both you and your side kick allethrin are no doubt experts.


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 14:41

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0 points

amazing

Jose wasn't Allethrin an early Saxon king of England ?


zaheerayin

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:26

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0 points

Oh great! The traumatised kids just love it!

Sing along with me!

Oh what a lovely occupation!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIEwKyxr2bU


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 16:10

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0 points

Like I said

Amazing


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 16:42

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0 points

oops


Harvey

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 10:02

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2 points

By comparison to this , 40% is really quite good

http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/middlesex-university-bans...

The Nuremberg Rally twinned with Middlesex ' University ' Hendon campus


zaheerayin

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 10:11

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-2 points

So Richard only managed to get a picture of Jonathan? Why does Jonathan always look like a scared rabbit caught in your headlights?


Ben F

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 10:15

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0 points

Any day that Millet gets a photo of a rabid hater is a good day.


Rich Armbach

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 12:37

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-1 points

It is a pity that attending the meeting at Middlesex was denied to members of the public that wanted to listen to the speakers and take part in a civilised manner. All to keep out a couple of notorious meeting disrupters and dissemblers of distorted and highly selective accounts of what has taken place. There has to be a less blunt instrument.


Rich Armbach

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 13:54

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....


Rich Armbach

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 13:58

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-1 points

there are no instances of richard or jonathan disrupting such "debates"

Really ? I don't think so.

Rich Armbach ....and dissemblers of distorted, highly selective,edited accounts of what took place.

Again,Rich, you're making this up.

I don't finkkkkkkkkkkk so.


zaheerayin

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:54

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0 points

I see the view from all that curved glass is having an effect.


happygoldfish

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 18:22

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1 point

Rich Armbach: It is a pity that attending the meeting at Middlesex was denied to members of the public that wanted to listen to the speakers and take part in a civilised manner. All to keep out a couple of notorious meeting disrupters …

rich, you're making this up

there are no instances of richard or jonathan disrupting such "debates"

yes, middlesex university free palestine society did restrict entry to middlesex students and staff solely to keep out richard and jonathan

but it was primarily to prevent what lauren booth, john rees, and asghar bukhan said from being reported

they remembered what happened when richard reported what jenny tonge said, resulting in her being expelled from the liberal democrats!

Rich Armbach: … and dissemblers of distorted and highly selective accounts of what has taken place.

again, rich, you're making this up

Rich Armbach

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 09:43

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0 points

It seems that at the Brooklyn College meeting two disrupters were escorted out by the NYPD.

surely not.......no......It can't be.


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 10:14

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0 points

lol


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 10:14

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0 points

lol


zaheerayin

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 12:47

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0 points

Uh oh, Happy's stuck again. Would someone give her a little bump?


happygoldfish

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 12:51

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0 points

Rich Armbach: It seems that at the Brooklyn College meeting two disrupters were escorted out by the NYPD.
surely not.......no......It can't be.

that's in new york

what on earth are you talking about?


happygoldfish

Fri, 03/08/2013 - 16:21

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1 point

Rich Armbach: http://eappiblog.wordpress.com/

(this is from maureen jack's blog, http://maureenjackea.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/access-to-education/)

zaheerayin: Oh great! The traumatised kids just love it!

zaheerayin, there's nothing in rich's link about the children being traumatised … on the contrary, it says "The children were full of fun, and a couple of the boys grinned as I was hauled out and up from inspecting the tunnel." oh, and here's her picture of abdullah saying he likes school, but he doesn't like the tunnel … traumatised?

zaheerayin, you just like making things up

this official eappi article shows exactly why it is so wrong for the church of england to associate itself with eappi

this eappi activist accuses israel of a breach of international humanitarian law

‘Everyone has the right to education.’ Article 26 (1), Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948 (has been ratified by Israel.)
‘Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits.’ UNESCO http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-...
International humanitarian law and international human rights law are central to the work of EAPPI. One of our tasks is to monitor children’s access to education.

… based on totally misleading reporting

eappi claim that israel is in breach because smaller children of ka'abne crawl through a 60 cm high 12-metre culvert to get to school because a dangerous main road is in the way

israel has not built a special road between the village and the school, the road was always there!

the better the palestinian economy gets, the more traffic will be on that road

the bigger children (and the teachers) do manage to cross the road

the smaller children find it more fun to walk crouched along the culvert … i think they're right!

no doubt, eaapi activists will soon be visiting churches around england showing photos of these children to show how terrible israel is to palestinian children!


joemillis1959

Fri, 03/08/2013 - 18:09

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-3 points

Norman, thanks for your reply. Ambassador Taub also mentioned NIF and its projects as a good way to engage with israel.

And don't you think that if we are looking at funding, then some right wing organisations should at least query the morality of support, both financial and political, they get from the likes of Pastor Hagee, who said hitler, yimach shemo, was a godsend?


joemillis1959

Fri, 03/08/2013 - 18:11

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-3 points

Are we going to get a couple more Groundhoff Days?

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