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Where I stand

Reader comment on item: My Debate with London Mayor Ken Livingstone

Submitted by Jonathan (United Kingdom), Jan 27, 2007 at 20:06

Coincidentally just a week after "Clash" I received this fascinating email from a guy I used to work with who has become a good friend (brought up Anglican but now atheist/humanist, not member of any political party but wd see himself as liberal with small 'l').

It just reinforces the view I came away with from the "Clash" Conference, that the centre ground of public opinion in London has shifted significantly in recent months and that debate about Israel - while still not exactly balanced - is far less imbalanced.

-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: 27 January 2007 12:55
To: Jonathan
Subject: Where I stand ...

Jonathan:

I think in emails or even conversations with you in the past I may have been evasive about 'moral equivalency' arguments re Israel and its antagonists.
Like many people, I guess, I have come to think about Islam and its sympathisers more critically. Now I would unequivocally say that Islam is a problem for the world in a way that the existence of the state of Israel is not - it cannot be a matter of 'a plague on both your houses'. I apologise for any pain or irritation any equivocation in this area might have caused you.

From: Jonathan
Sent: 27 January 2007 13:56
To
Subject: RE: Where I stand ...

Hi - very good to hear from you!

  1. This is hugely appreciated
  2. You have nothing to apologise for
  3. You must be psychic - as I have spent much of the non-work time since last Saturday in correspondence about the "Clash of Civilisations?" Conference which Ken Livingstone organised at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre last Saturday (maybe you were there? - I'm wondering what prompted your Damascene conversion!). I went and had expected (i) for it to turn into an Israel hatefest (which was why I went - to speak out) and (ii) for Daniel Pipes, who was debating against Ken, to be routed - but neither was the case. One of the points I made in my report - see the Adloyada site and the Jewish Chronicle article referenced in the URL below - was that on the evidence of the 2000+ people at the Conference, public opinion has changed in PRECISELY the way your opinion has changed! May be it was 7/7 and the aftermath, maybe Ariel Sharon's return of Gaza, maybe the developing split between Shia and Sunni in the Middle East - or maybe all of these things.
  4. I blame MSM (=mainstream media) for the 'plague on both your houses' view which was so common. For example: MSM has simply not reported the Conference, with the exception of the Jewish Chronicle yesterday. If they did, they would have to report the depth of antipathy voiced by many among the 2000 to militant Islamism. And maybe after the Danish cartoons affair they simply don't want to take the risk. The last week has made me look at MSM in a new light and appreciate what a vital function the 'blogs' perform, in telling us what MSM is scared to tell us.
  5. I really recommend Oliver Kamm's website. At the Conference in the afternoon he gave two of the best speeches I have ever heard.

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/724

http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Kamm

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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