Friday, March 10, 2006

REPORT ON DERSHOWITZ AT SOAS (WELL, KIND OF...)

Last Wednesday I finished work and headed over to SOAS(the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, for the uninitiated), hoping to catch Alan Dershowitz speak at a lecture entitled "Zionism is Not Racism: The Case for Israel". Of course, I should have expected a roadblock.

Despite being there a few minutes early, the place was rammed, with a rather chaotic queue extending back from the lecture theatre and filling the stairs back up to the ground floor. The event had clearly brought everyone out of the woodwork, from scholarly-looking pensioners to be-dreadlocked youth. To be fair, most of the people that I met in the queue were fully suited and booted and looked understandably disappointed that they'd had to leg it across London in rush-hour straight after work or had been soaked in the earlier downpour.


That said, there was no hassle at all. Everyone seemed resigned to the fact that they didn't stand a bat in hell's chance of getting in, but were mingling around on the off chance that someone left or it was announced that the talk could somehow be televised elsewhere in the building.

After about ten minutes, a polite security guard appeared, pointed out the dangers of standing on stairs and asked everyone to leave. Which we did. And walked straight into Russia almost a century ago.


This fine specimen of a comrade was selling Workers Vanguard, an American publication which, although apparently a recent edition, looked like it had been already been used for other, perhaps unsavoury, purposes.

His friend off-camera (also selling papers) was asked by a polite (yet clearly argumentative) Zionist as to what they were doing selling a trotty-rag inside a university building. This escalated into a minor disagreement about Zionism and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, although the paper-seller broke off the exchange saying she didn't want an argument. Fair enough. She was there to raise money for "a global socialist initiative" with unintelligible initials, not deal with Zionists.

At this point, another woman waded in and began accusing the Zionist of being brainwashed. He defended himself adequately, to which she replied:
"There's no point saying that, you're only making a fool out of yourself!"
- words that would come back to haunt her within ten minutes or so.

They carried on arguing for a bit before he left and we hung around, informing a steady stream of latecomers that there was no chance of them getting in and that they'd missed the only debate they'd get to see that night - between the aforementioned woman (who was still stood there) and the Zionist. How wrong we were.

I said I thought the pro-Israel guy was argumentative but polite - well, he came back for more. Without raising his voice, he challenged the woman you can see in the following videoa on a number of points to which she seemed incapable of offering a coherent reply.

In the first clip (3gp file, should work with QuickTime) you can see her struggling for leaflets which contained "the truth, not Israeli propaganda" whilst repeating her mantra about "Four times, four times, FOUR TIMES as many Palestinian children..." - just a shame that in her earlier exchange with him this figure was "three times as many" - I can only presume that in his five minutes off, the Zionist had been responsible for murdering several thousand Palestinian children. Certainly, the way that she began to lose it suggested that she believed it to be the case. It was a little chaotic, with supporters of both protagonists hanging around (and getting in the way) of my phone - apologies for the low quality and funny angles. (Ed.: I'll try to sort the videos out over the weekend, but no promises...)

If anything, I've only uploaded the previous file to highlight the rather strange transformation that occurred next. I'm told by experts from across the pond that the shriller a moonbat gets, the more the words spilling out of their mouths begin to resemble a stream of unconciousness. Well, forget the stream of babble - we nearly got a primal scream here.

She began ripping at her hair and making rapid high-pitched "ungh! unh! ungh! unh!" noises that I believe were of a derogatory nature. For someone who knew "the truth" and was dealing with a "brainwashed Zionist", she sure had a funny way of arguing in a rational and logical manner.

Watch her mental disintegration here. If you can't make out what she's saying at the beginning, neither could I. And I was there. That was the moment she had her funny turn. Rather ironic given that earlier she'd warned the Zionist chap that he was making himself look stupid.

She did just about compose herself, enough to tell a friend of mine that
"Yes I'm Jewish, but I hate seeing Jews murder people just to make up for the Holocaust"
for which she wins the Historical Revisionist of the Week Award. And off she went.

Sadly, this was the only debate we got to see that night, although it was fairly entertaining in a Vanessa Feltz on Big Brother "Is she about to have a nervous breakdown?" kind of way. They might have voted for Hamas, but I'm not sure the Palestinians deserve representatives like this. Probably a good job she didn't get into the lecture theatre.

If that was the level of passion outside the debate, I can't imagine what it must have been like on the inside. Anyone know anyone who got in? I'd be keen to know how it went.

Enjoy the weekend.

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