Ben White, 11/27/2011 – Electronic Intifada
Last Thursday, I participated in a debate on Palestine/Israel organised by the University of Birmingham Debating Society. The format of the event was similar to the BBC television show ‘Question Time’, with six panellists taking both pre-prepared questions, and points from the audience. The debate was held in conjunction with both the Jewish Society and Friends of Palestine Society, a rare occasion when the two groups have shared a platform.
The whole debate can be watched on YouTube, but one of the talking points of the evening came when, barely half an hour in, an audience member asked the panel if Israel is an apartheid state. The chair’s unexpected reply was that this was not a subject that could be discussed: “I’ve been told I can’t have that as a question”, she stressed (watch here). Inevitably, all the panellists then proceeded to address the issue – Victor Kattan said he’d refer to “A”.