Victory at Cambridge Israel is 'rogue state' debate

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010
Students watch the debate (photo: Stephen Tordoff)

Students watch the debate (photo: Stephen Tordoff)

An Israeli politician received a warm welcome at a recent Cambridge Union debate.

Ran Gidor, Israel’s minister for political affairs, was joined by former radical Islamist Shiraz Maher to oppose the motion “Israel is a rogue state” at the debate last Thursday.

Arguing for the other side was Lauren Booth, the pro-Palestinian activist and half-sister of Cherie Blair, who announced last weekend that she had converted to Islam.

But a new approach by a student, who argued that Israel’s should be seen as a “rogue state” only on the basis of its outstanding humanitarian aid record, helped to lead Mr Gidor and his team to a decisive victory.

Ariel Levy, head of the Israel students union at Cambridge, praised the outcome but called for British universities to stop “the trend of unilateral criticism towards Israel and seek to initiate usefu discussions on the two-state solution.”

Ambassador Ron Prosor said: “The opposition to defining Israel as a rogue state has been reinforced due to the fact that it received support from the Cambridge Union, an organisation that enjoys international prestige and reputation.

“We will continue to come to any place where our name is being discredited.”

Mr Gidor’s appearance at Cambridge was followed by a talk by Israeli minister for Minorities, Avishay Braverman at the London School of Economics.

Around 60 postgraduate students attended a seminar with him on the subject of “Israeli Democracy: Integration of Minorities.”

The session only came to an end when Mr Braverman realised he had to leave so as not to be late for his next appointment.

Gabriel Latner's Israel speech in full

Last updated: 11:16am, November 24 2010