Leeds University Union Threaten to Ban My Speech on Palestine 224


I am giving a talk entitled “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution” in Leeds University tomorrow. I have just been told by Leeds University Union I will not be allowed to speak unless I submit what I am going to say for pre-vetting.

I am truly appalled that such a gross restriction on freedom of speech should be imposed anywhere, let alone in a university where intellectual debate is meant to be an essential part of the learning experience. I really do not recognise today’s United Kingdom as the same society I grew up in. The common understanding that the values of a liberal democracy are the foundation of society appears to have evaporated.

As regular readers know well, I do not write speeches in advance but always speak extempore. My opinions on Israel and Palestine are very well documented on this blog and elsewhere. I want to see a single, unitary state in Israel/Palestine, encompassing everyone who currently lives in those territories, as a secular democracy blind to ethnicity and religion. This includes an acceptance that further forced large population movements by anybody are not desirable and the Palestinians should receive more compensation than restitution. If I am not permitted to express this view within a University, I find that truly shocking.

I should be equally shocked if anybody who held views very different to my own were not permitted to express them.

I think that if people like me are now being prevented from speaking, society has crossed a very dangerous line indeed.


224 thoughts on “Leeds University Union Threaten to Ban My Speech on Palestine

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  • Habbabkuk

    Perhaps they have been reading commenters’ offerings and you have suffered reputational damage? If you had proper moderation against the daily hate-speech (and not just against H….. – denial) things might have been different?

    • Iain Stewart

      The more frothing remarks seem not to last too long before being mopped up, such as a recent promise to both hang and put up against a wall and shoot the (quote) “vermin” with whose thoughts that particular commenter disagreed on his return from the local café comptoir. (Unfortunately whole threads of such exchanges sometimes disappear in consequence, or just isolated bits of them, albeit creating surrealistic dialogues surpassing Beckett.) I imagine others like me enjoy reading Craigs excellent and consistently provocative and informative posts, despite the general playground fighting and bullying that resumes every time the bell goes. His reputation probably shines more brilliantly by the contrast with his own measured words.

    • craig Post author

      If a University cannot tell the difference between things that I write and things that other people write, there really is little hope for reason in the world.

      • Habbabkuk

        Perhaps unfairly and perhaps not, people are sometimes judged by the company they keep. It is true that you haven’t (directly) chosen your company but the tenor of much of what you write (and sometimes your very choice of expression) does tend to attract a certain kind of person with a certain outlook and certain obsessions. And, in the interests of free speech, you choose not to “un-choose” a certain kind of company; fair enough, but that might have consequences for you personally.

        • craig Post author

          You are one of the most frequent contributors here. As are Anon1 and Michael Norton and Fred, to name but three. You all have a very pro-establishment outlook. Any observer with any sense would conclude that my views are plainly expressed in what I write, and I allow a full spectrum of other opinion to be expressed. The “company I keep” is a strange phrase – I am not in company with those who comment on this blog and I do not choose who comments. But to accept your premise for the sake of argument then “the company I keep” most often is probably you.

          • Habbabkuk

            Thank you for that, Craig. But you should probably not look only at frequency but also at length of comment (here, Bevin is the champion) and numbers (the obsessives and haters are legion, the Habbabkuks are few).

            When you take those three elements together, I am certainly not the company you keep the most.

          • J

            “…not look only at frequency but also at length of comment”

            Agreed. Long and developed arguments are a sign of free thinking and critical thought. Haven’t we learned anything from sound bites and jargon?

          • Alcyone

            “then “the company I keep” most often is probably you.”

            And that is after a certain notorious J-hater was dislodged having been a long-term sitting tenant on the blog, tracing all manner of people’s J-ancestry, random connections to the community and sundry trips to Israel.

            Some of us will take some small credit for maintaining some sanity here.

            If this is of concern, the Students Union should note that the J-word is pre-moderated here such that ill-tempered comments are sincerely minimised. They will still try it on from time-to-time, but that is nothing to do with Craig and they won’t get far.

        • J

          “Perhaps unfairly and perhaps not, people are sometimes judged by the company they keep. It is true that you haven’t (directly) chosen your company but the tenor of much of what you write (and sometimes your very choice of expression) does tend to attract a certain kind of person with a certain outlook and certain obsessions. And, in the interests of free speech, you choose not to “un-choose” a certain kind of company; fair enough, but that might have consequences for you personally.”

          As the self appointed voice of reason in this forum, why don’t you just say who and what you are describing. Name names. Quote the offending parties.Provide links.

        • RobG

          That sounds like yet another threat from Habba.

          I will make Habba & Co aware that if you believe that the Investigatory Powers Act has let you off the leash you’ve got another think coming.

          Everything you are doing is being carefully noted, and you will be held to account in a real court of law.

        • Flaminius

          Habbabkuk’s comment is the worst sort of smear as it appears to be oh reasonable. To oppose Israeli Zionism without apology does not attract anti-Semites, as you imply. It attracts freedom loving defenders of self-determination and opponents of violent radical religious fundamentalism of all stripes. To require that any and ever anti-Zionist opinion carry a disclaimer that it is not anti-semitism is to concede a victory to the hyper active Israeli spy and propaganda network that attempts to define the debate on this issue in illicit ways. Habbabkuk is, wily nily, conniving with that effort to subvert open and free debate.

    • J

      “If you had proper moderation against the daily hate-speech (and not just against H….. – denial”

      Holocaust denial? Is your keyboard broken? Links? Quotes? Evidence?

    • bevin

      “If you had proper moderation against the daily hate-speech (and not just against H….. – denial) things might have been different?”
      What ‘daily hate speech’? it is a lie to suggest that anything of the sort is tolerated by the moderators, the blog author or the many decent people who comment here in a serious attempt to establish public discussion of important matters.
      Your position is always to disrupt discussion, to insult those who disagree with the conformism that you preach, and to defend the actions of the Israeli government, US Foreign Policy and any wars going.
      Fair enough-have your fun. But don’r expect anyone to believe that your motives are good or that your qualifications to comment are superior to those of anyone else.
      You preen yourself, affect all manner of airs suggesting a deep personal knowledge of the corridors of power and a permanent place at High Tables but you have yet to make a comment that suggests anything but the most banal analysis and commonplace acquaintance with the facts.
      I went to University with K Harvey Proctor-so I know your sort of old.

    • D_Majestic

      I have noticed little here in the way of “Daily hate-speech” There’s plenty at The Independent. Mostly pro-establishment and anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rubbish. And the ongoing pogrom against Corbyn.

  • Anon1

    Didn’t you submit what you were going to say for pre-vetting by St Noam?

    And felt like a little schoolboy in awe of Him for having received such a request?

    • glenn_uk

      Don’t be such an arse, Anon1. Surely you can tell the difference between an individual person and a University? Why don’t you go back to skulking around support groups for causes you have no sympathy with, so you can make slurs about them afterwards.

  • Habbabkuk

    Perhaps they want to pre-vett in order to ensure (insosfar as possible) that you do not come out with something similar to what one so often reads in the comments section on here when the Middle East is being touched on?

  • Habbabkuk

    It might be a case of you having in future to rein in certain commenters who will never rein themselves in even if their selfish failure to do so results in the sort of situations you have described.

    • Harry Vimes

      Who bought you a mirror?

      Never took you for the Captain Oates type but well volunteered that man. Close the door on your way out. No serious observer will miss you.

  • MJ

    “This includes an acceptance that further forced large population movements by anybody are not desirable”

    Isn’t that racist in these parts?

  • JS

    I think this is standard practice at universities and colleges nowadays with the Prevent Strategy. Certainly the case at the college I work at. Is this the first time you’ve faced this at a uni?

    • Old Mark

      JS

      If this is indeed ‘standard practice’ at universities these days we have indeed crossed a ‘very dangerous line’ as Craig states. Which officer holders at your college JS are responsible for implementing the ‘Prevent ‘ strategy ? At Leeds the likely candidates would appear to be either Ms Healey or Mr Palmer

      Perhaps Craig can clarify which officer of the Union has told him about the pre vetting requirement ?

      https://www.luu.org.uk/studentexec/

  • Sid F

    ” I will not be allowed to speak unless I submit what I am going to say for pre-vetting.”

    you were happy to do it to kiss Chomsky’s backside.

    • craig Post author

      Don’t be ridiculous. The Chomsky event was not a “vetting”. There was no question of my not being able to take part. it is because the event was a symposium on one of Chomsky’s works and Chomsky needed to see the abstracts – as all the other participants did – so he could reply and interact.

    • Zed

      Like he was once happy enough to kiss HM’s backside for a job in the FCO until he suddenly grew a “conscience”, rather late in life.

  • Habbabkuk

    It might also be that they found the title of your proposed talk ( “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution”) too tendentious; after all, it does give the impression that you believe that the only alternative to a unitary secular solution is a ^Bantustan” solution.

    • J

      “tendentious”

      ?

      Merriam Webster “marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view”

      ?

  • Njegos

    No doubt this is the result of combined pressure from the CAA, the LFI and the CFI.

    • Iain Stewart

      I see Habbabkuk’s ironic reply suggesting the involvement of other organisations and groups didn’t last five minutes before going down the memory hole. First time I’ve seen that in action before my very eyes. No doubt retribution for his remark about “proper moderation” getting him properly moderated?

      • Habbabkuk

        Iain

        I think I am seen by some as a disruptive element. Why that should be so when you look at many (most?) of the other commenters’ efforts beats me, but there you go…. 🙂

        • J

          “Why that should be so when you look at many (most?) of the other commenters’ efforts beats me”

          Quotes? Links? Names?

        • Harry Vimes

          Only in your own eyes and dreams lad.

          At best you represent this blogs equivilant of the old Duke of Darnall, stood in the middle of the road pretending to direct the traffic to the amusement of the kids because it’s pitched at their level. A figure of fun and street theatre with a real audience of only one, yourself. At worst it’s like getting on a full bus and finding the only unoccupied seat is next to the resident nutter muttering to himself in a loud voice because, as Shakespeare observed, no one marks him. Epitomised in the late Terry Pratchetts fold ol’ Ron. The obnoxious drunk in the corner of the tap room who everyone avoids, desperately wanting to join the grown up’s and be the centre of attention who has long out stayed their welcome.

    • Habbabkuk

      I very much doubt it. The idea smacks of conspiracy theory and is an insult to the intelligence of the student union’s officers, who perhaps acted on the basis of the reputational damage Craig may well have suffered through the efforts of certain commenters.

  • Edinburgh-Guy

    Unfortunately it seems the western world is slowly sliding into fascism. Its not only free speech, there are so many examples. So sad, so sad!

  • Babushka

    In this, you are experiencing first hand what some of us here have been experiencing in universities and the workplace, for decades.
    Who is in control?

  • Anon1

    “I should be equally shocked if anybody who held views very different to my own were not permitted to express them.”

    Says the man who in just about every one of his last 100 blog posts has tried to smear all those who hold different views to his own, whether left or right, as racist, bigoted and xenophobic, knowing full well that shutting down an opposing view by calling it racist is a good way of avoiding having to answer it.

    • giyane

      Anon1

      I hate Leylandii trees and I wouldn’t let one grow in my garden. That doesn’t mean I go out at night with a chainsaw hacking down Leylandiis trees wherever I see them, or poisoning their roots. Craig has a perfect right to cultivate or prune anything he likes on his own blog. It’s a positive Kew Botanical gardens here which is a lot more interesting than the Hampton Court maze.

      • Habbabkuk

        “Craig has a perfect right to cultivate or prune anything he likes on his own blog.”
        _____________________

        Very true, Guyane, but Leeds University Students Union is not his own blog.

        • glenn_uk

          Didn’t you follow the thread, Habbabkuk? Anon1 was whining (as is his wont) about Craig’s blog posts. Giyane answered about the blog posts, which you contradict with a non-sequitur about Leeds SU.

          But since you brought it up, do you think Leeds University ought to ban invited speakers from attend, because they’re afraid of a perfectly legitimate view? Does free speech only apply to those views of which you approve?

          You’ll note the amount of free speech you are given on this blog. You and Anon1 wasted no time in laying into the blog’s host here, and have done so consistently for years. Do you really have no shame?

          • Habbabkuk

            I fear that it is you who has not been following the thread. My understanding is that it is not “Leeds University” which is “banning” a Craig invited by the Students Union but Leeds University Students Union (which issued the original invitation) which is asking to see Craig’s speech beforehand. Is that your understanding?

            Secondly: on the assumption that it is the Students Union itself which might un-invite Craig as a result of the pre-vetting, then yes, I believe that the Students Union does have the right to do that. They have as much right to do that as Craig has to say what he likes on his own blog and as the moderators have to delete posts on here for that matter.

          • glenn_uk

            I did mean Leeds University Student Union, which is why I mentioned “Leeds SU” in my first paragraph – sorry for the abbreviation, if that was not clear.

            I’m not sure that anyone is questioning the _right_ of a body to ban whoever they want, that’s a bit of a straw man, if you’ll forgive me. The issue at hand is whether it is right – as in correct – for them to shut down a perfectly legitimate point of view like this.

            So – sorry to say – I still feel it is you who are not following the thread. Leeds SU ought to be roundly condemned for exercising their right to ban someone in this case, but that right is not under question here (apart from when it’s offered up as a red herring now and then perhaps).

    • craig Post author

      Anon1,

      You are entirely wrong. I think people should be allowed, broadly, to express their views. I also think they should be called out for being racist. Criticising is not “shutting down”.

  • giyane

    Prevent is used by the Muslim community to exercise power over Muslims which they would not otherwise have in the UK. Prevent is a tool for the politically minded Muslims to suck up to those who hate Islam, for their own personal political purposes. As I’ve said before, if Prevent was an honest institution it would start by admitting that all Islamic extremism is created, funded, reported and manipulated by, amongst others, the UK state.

    If it did that, then you would see some Prevent.

  • RobG

    Ever since Obama wheeled out the ‘fake news’ meme last October there’s been a big clamp-down on the so-called ‘alternate media’ and those who speak out, which included the Washington Post disgracefully publishing a list of what they claimed are ‘fake news’ sites. In order to maintain control the Establishment have to keep up the pretense that people in the West live in free and open societies, and so this demolition job on the alternate media is mostly being done quietly behind the scenes.

    Love him or hate him, Alex Jones is the latest victim, with a huge lawsuit launched against him. I can’t readily find a news link for this because everything is so tightly censored thesedays.

    Likewise, Obama’s ‘fake news’ meme was a reaction to ‘Pizzagate’, in which Obama was implicated. None of this is reported by the presstitutes, and now such is the climate of fear that many in the so-called ‘alternate media’ are too afraid to touch it.

    Freedom? Democracy? Open societies? You’ve got to be kidding!

    • Zed

      “Alex Jones is the latest victim”

      Oh do come on RobG, even his former mate Rense now claims Jones is a CIA-funded stooge . Jones who has victimised so many others with his bull-horn is now “a victim”? Please???

  • Jayne Venables

    Craig, that’s really disappointing. It’s the nearest I’ve come to seeing you in the flesh. Just checked your blog for the promised time and venue, and here you are telling me that Leeds Uni Union insist on vetting your speech. It’s your views I want to hear, fresh, unredacted and real. What’s to fear? If I don’t like what you say, I’ll tell you. Can’t they wait and disagree in an after talk discussion?

    I’ll keep an eye out for your appearances within reach of York, but I won’t be visiting Leeds Uni again. Neither will I ever encourage anyone to study there.

    • Zed

      I’m sure this will upset Leeds UNI very much, seeing as it is not the UNI that is doing the vetting, but the UNI union. Why blame the UNI?

    • craig Post author

      Jayne,

      It is supposed to be at Leeds University Union at 6pm. I shall be there anyway whether permission comes through or not, and can always speak on a nearby pavement.

      • craig Post author

        If permission goes through it is going to be here: 6.00 pm Conference Auditorium GM 01 (big building behind The Edge sports centre).

      • John Spencer-Davis

        That’s exactly right. With all due respect, I am not sure that denying you permission to speak at facilities owned by someone else constitutes interference with your freedom of speech. If some Holocaust denier came to me and asked to pay me for the use of my printer to run off copies of his disgusting opinions, I would not be interfering with his freedom of speech if I refused. He’s free to get his own printer and do it himself, or hand out written copies in the street.

        If you were arrested and jailed for speaking in the street, that would be interference with freedom of speech.

        J

      • Jayne Venables

        Thanks Craig.

        I recall being involved in the organisation and publicity for a similar event in York, where the speaker’s views were supposedly controversial. It was a revelation to me. The pressure placed on the organisers caused real strife.

        My advice to the SU organisers would be to follow their instincts and common sense. To fear free speech is folly. To be galvanised for free speech will prepare them for the politics of their futures. With a little courage, tonight will sit comfortably on their consciences and become a conditioned response to repression.

        And if we are on the pavement, so be it. Wrap up warm, Craig.

  • Ex Kay

    XKCD: Respect for Free Speech does not mandate giving a platform to assholes

    Public Service Announcement: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.
    It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit – or host you while you share it.

    The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.

    If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.

    It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,

    And they’re showing you the door.

    Commentary: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.

    • glenn_uk

      Here’s news for you, chief – this is the UK, not Amerika. So references to Amendments have zero relevance here. Didn’t you know that? But don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to air that little speech next time an American (usually a far right-winger who’s got booted off some radio show for their racism) starts claiming a violation of their free-speech rights.

      Here’s more news – Craig wasn’t being yelled at or boycotted. He had an audience looking forward to hearing him. The people at Leeds SU are thinking of pulling the plug, not the audience.

      In fact, nothing you’ve written addresses the actual matter at hand. Do you do that a lot?

      • Ex Kay

        Dude, I was referring to right-wing troublemakers having their comments deleted by moderators and moaning about it. The point is: Craig doesn’t have to host their bullshit, and appeals to the right to free speech are irrelevant.

        It has nothing to do with Craig being asked to send advance notice of what he intends to say.

        Does that make sense?

        • lysias

          I would have thought that allowing right-wing troublemakers to speak is one of the prices that ought to be paid, at least in a university, so that there can be a free exchange of ideas.

        • glenn_uk

          I’m sorry, my total misunderstanding there – please allow me to take back my entire comment. It’s not always completely obvious who’s addressing whom around here. Perhaps we should, as a general rule, indicate who we’re replying to.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      “It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole.”

      You’re confusing the people listening with the people who have the power to ban. Not necessarily the same. Do you think that nobody would come to listen to Craig Murray if he were permitted to address the students without pre-vetting?

    • lysias

      It’s true, the First Amendment just limits what governments — federal, state, and local — in the U.S. can do.

      But this is a university, where there is supposed to be a free exchange of ideas. And many universities — because of their association with one or more governments — have also to observe the First Amendment here in the States.

      • lysias

        And if the decision is made by a student organization operating under the aegis of a university, I do not think that that fact would absolve the university of liability here in the States.

  • Dr John O'Dowd

    I am sorry to say Craig that Leeds University is far from unusual in ‘no-platforming’ people with views might cause ’embarrassment’ to the Chief Executive and the Board of Directors .

    We no longer have universities in the UK – we have corporate degree factories and R&D units for business and UK and global capital. The idea that a university is a place for debate and critical scrutiny of free-flowing ideas – let alone – God forbid – truth seeking is long gone.

    We can’t risk the fees, grants and endowments that keep Vice Chancellors in the manner to which they have become accustomed – nor indeed their chances to receive those very important OBEs, knighthoods – and seats in the House of Lords that are so vital to maintaining the Brand.

    Now go away.

    • RobG

      I totally agree with you, John.

      I weep when I see what’s happened to higher education; and indeed, all education.

      Brain-dead zombies seems to be the order of the day.

      • glenn_uk

        I dunno about “brain-dead zombies”, it’s more to do with the turning of every sector of our lives into some profit-centre. If somebody isn’t making a lot of money out of it, regardless of the cost to society, then it should be radically overhauled.

      • Mark Golding

        As children my mother bless her advised us ‘to mind p’s and q’s which for us translated to a nice slice of TLC – in these times minding p’s & q’s has distorted into ‘shut up or die’ as ‘.. forthcoming laws/corporate brands are recast towards authoritarianism and a closed society.’

        Somewhat removed from keeping a tally on your drinks (pints and quarts) chalked up on the slate in English pubs…

    • Babushka

      Ditto in Australia.
      Perhaps Craig, you can “make your speech” here on your blog, without submitting to any vetting process.
      I have long respected your courage. Go well.

    • Zed

      “I am sorry to say Craig that Leeds University”

      Another one with the reading skills of a mollusc. It is not the University doing the vetting; it is the university STUDENT’S UNION!

      However did you gain a doctorate with the reading skills you have so admirably displayed here?

      • John O'Dowd

        In a way that makes it worse. If students themselves are operating a vetting and censoring system, they are depriving themselves of an opportunity to hear different views, widen their horizons, and enter into a dialectic and critique of those views.

        None of the above negates my observations about universities and their managements – rather it indicates that the underlying intention to limit the range of what it is ‘acceptable’ to know or to say, is working.

        My PhD was in the molecular pathology of leukaemia. It involved the possession of a neural network somewhat in advance of that of a mollusc, but like all biological systems it is error-prone and subject to diurnal and circadian rhythms.

        Oh to be as perfect as ZED!

  • RobG

    Point taken, but I was directly addressing the post by ‘Ex Kay’, which hasn’t been moderated. My post contained important information that people should know about.

    If you want to bin my post that’s up to you.

    Remember, though, Mods, they’ll come for you next.

  • giyane

    When I was thrown off site at Coventry University while doing some electrical work it was the Union that excluded me. The union is a bunch of regular guys who advocate for the rights of teaching staff, nothing to do with the politics of the Students Union. But the person who told the union to ban me was a scowling slightly greying Asian man in a long black raincoat. He came in to see what we were doing, scowled menacingly and went out.

    There is an extremely well-organised Asian spy network, which basically ties to make life difficult for amybody who differs from the consensus of Muslim opinion in the UK that the USUKIS neo-con proxy military activity of Al Qaida and Daesh against the practising Muslim populations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Libya Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey etc is jihad. I don’t agree that serving the colonial interests of Zionism is jihad. That’s why I was chucked out.

    IMHO somebody has told the Union to make life difficult for Craig, not because of his views on Palestine, which are plain common-sense, but because of his opposition to neo-con policies, torture, dispossession and religious extremism. ” I should be equally shocked if anybody who held views very different to my own were not permitted to express them. ”

    It’s truly shocking, but it’s nothing to do with the other battle in the universities for political correctness about Israel. This is a Muslim ban on British tolerant free speech.

  • lysias

    a single, unitary state in Israel/Palestine, encompassing everyone who currently lives in those territories

    Just what Albert Einstein and Judah Magnes, the first head of the Hebrew University, wanted.

      • Habbabkuk

        Why should it matter to Leeds University? Is the world to be governed according to the wishes of the late Albert Einstein?

        Greatness of mind is usually confined to one area of endeavour (Lysias is of course an exception) and greatness of mind in one area is not guarantee of greatness of mind in unrelated areas.

        • Zed

          “Why should it matter to Leeds University?”

          It doesn’t your eminence. It matters to the students union. This place is filled with brain dead zombies today who just don’t get that the university is not the students union.

          • Habbabkuk

            What are you going on about? I made that exact point to Glenn_UK at 23h42 on March 1.
            Try posting before midnight and reading others’ posts more carefully 🙂

    • Habbabkuk

      Re Judah Magnes:

      “Following the Israeli Declaration of Independence, Magnes ceased advocating binationalism, and accepted the existence of the state of Israel, telling one of his sons “do you think that in my heart I am not glad too that there is a state? I just did not think it was to be.” On May 15, 1948, following the declaration of independence, he called Israeli President Chaim Weizmann to express congratulations.[38] During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Magnes lobbied for an armistice, and proposed a plan for a federation between Israel and a Palestinian state which he called the “United States of Palestine”, under which the two states would be independent, but operate joint foreign and defense policies, with Jerusalem as the shared capital.”

      As usual, not quite what our Transatlantic Friend was claiming.

    • lysias

      Those who think I have misrepresented Magnes’s views are invited to read the whole Wikipedia entry.

      • Habbabkuk

        BTW, Lysias, what do you think of President Trump’s intention to substantially increase spending on the US military, starting with the forthcoming federal budget?

        As a former US Navy officer, I mean.

        • Zed

          I think the Americans should stop whining and wailing about the costs of running an empire and pay up. As for Trump asking NATO to pay more, it’s “no taxation without representation”, surely?

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    Craig,
    I hope you go ahead with the speech even if pre-vetted, but shorten it sufficiently whren delivering it to take questions from (not .I hasten to add strategically placed )members of the audience.. This allows you to speak freely providing you don’t get only”Have you stopped beating your wife-Yes or No” type quetions. Discussion can then be continued after the event .

      • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

        Sorry,Craig, I meant that you should roughly halve the pre-vetted speech and open up the floor much earlier than envisaged; but be alert to avoid George Galloways PR problems with the Oxford Union.

  • fedup

    Whence everyone have been clouding in a game of upholding the reverence of sacred cows, the said sacrosanct current will be inevitably strong enough to drawn out any voice that is not adherent to the dogma! Salem dejour!

    So enjoy your adherence to the game, and don’t complain. Your blog comments often carry vile racist and sectarian comments directed at all and sundry except the sacred cows with a constant stream of reminders that how nasty the comments are on your blog, the resident disruptor and company have driven away all voices of dissent, so why should the Leeds university not follow suit?

    Fear of ………… has become so strong that now any dissent is verbotten.

    Enjoy your self imposed restrictions, and be certain; for the worse is to come yet!

    • Zed

      “why should the Leeds university not follow suit?”

      Not another one? It is not the university; it is the students union!

  • Martinned

    I want to see a single, unitary state in Israel/Palestine, encompassing everyone who currently lives in those territories, as a secular democracy blind to ethnicity and religion.

    Wow. Two things in one week we agree on. And here I was coming to this blog to read things I’d be likely to disagree with…

    • K Crosby

      I want the Palestinians to decide what they want in their own country, like in a democracy.

      • Zed

        “like in a democracy.”

        Such as a state where the majority vote to leave the EU and yet the likes of Moaning Murray refuse to accept that decision and label all those who voted to leave “racists” and “xenophobes”?

        Is that the kind of democracy you want?

        • D_Majestic

          Zed-Where the majority vote to leave by a very small percentage majority. There’s a “Democracy” issue there, Larry, Innit.

  • harrylaw

    “I am giving a talk entitled “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution” I suppose Craig could have included a two state solution based on the 67 green line, but since Netanyahu’s government have ruled that out, it is difficult to see what the university could find to be problematical in Craig’s proposition. I think the real reason is that Craig could be critical of Israel and by implication put Jewish students on campus in fear of their lives, this is well known at US universities. http://mondoweiss.net/2017/02/campus-wars/ Because Zionists regard the whole of the West Bank as Israeli sovereign territory [Judea and Samaria] or the “Land of Israel” the question posed by Craig must be answered. If the Israelis opt for a one state solution by annexing the West Bank as many Israeli politicians demand, and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not given the vote, a Bantustan [South African Apartheid situation will occur] if they are given the vote the Jewish state will be no more. In fact in a short space of time Palestinians will outnumber people of Jewish origin. Then what? If, as Craig say’s a secular state for everyone is one solution [I think he prefers it] that is anathema to most Israelis. Israelis have not thought through the end result of their settlement enterprise and are now one of the most reviled states in the world.

  • AAMVN

    In your shoes I would be tempted to submit a pro-status quo tract that supports Israel’s continued duplicity and outright criminality continuing unquestioned then deliver a totally different speech on the night…

    It is ridiculous that Universities too should have restrictions on free speech but they always have had.

    I am opposed in principle to Students Unions acting in this manner. The late Enoch Powell used to have a lot of difficulty getting to speak at universities when I was a student and though I had no sympathy for his views I couldn’t follow the logic of not allowing him to speak.

    The only time I would restrict free speech is if it advocates or encourages violence.

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