Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The state of debate on the Jewish State on campus

A Manchester University student paper has this report ofthe clashes between Israel and Palestine supporters over the invitation and subsequent cancellation of the visit of the deputy Israeli Ambassador to the UK. You can see pictures of the protests here

Dan Berkely, one of the students present at the clashes, gave this assessment of the experience:

“They were ridiculous protests and became not about politics, but about who could shout louder. That was the problem with the lack of debate in the first place. It was just aggressive people shouting. I’ve never been able to hear their views. All I’m told is, ‘I should be ashamed’ and ‘I’m scum’ and that ‘I’m a murderer’. They don’t know my views and frankly, I don’t know theirs. They never want to sit down and speak. They never want to debate. It’s not politics.”
"They don't no my views and frankly, I don't know theirs" - and there's the nub of the problem; something which no amount of shouting will change.


  1. However, there is also an interesting difference; they don’t want to know his views.

    Could this be the reason why democracy never caught on in the Arab world?

    After all, if intelligent(?) students cannot grasp the concept of free speech, what chance is there for the meek?

  2. I really don't think so - the protests of a few hundred British (and mostly non-Arab) students at Manchester University is a small evidence base from which to extrapolate an explanation for why 'democracy never caught on in the Arab world.'

  3. It is a small evidence to base a conclusion on, but not at all too small to extrapolate and raise the question. It is especially so, when you consider other evidenced of misunderstanding of the principal of freedom of speech in the Arab and the Islamic world.