Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Friends of Israel did not object to Alderman on the festival panel

We would like to clarify a report in the Belfast Telegraph (19 October, "Professor 'outraged and saddened' by QUB snub").

Northern Ireland Friends of Israel did not object to senior Jewish academic Geoffrey Alderman being included on the panel at the Belfast Festival event "Conflict in the Middle East".



In fact, we contacted the Festival organisers because the original two speakers, Professors Beverley Milton-Edwards and Avi Shlaim, are both unsympathetic to Israel. The Festival organisers agreed the event was unbalanced and agreed to issue a late invitation to Professor Alderman.



For the Belfast Festival to then disinvite Professor Alderman from the panel was both discourteous and betrays the Festival's commitment to open debate and inclusivity.



In recent years the Festival has hosted George Galloway, Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky who are all hostile critics of Israel without inviting anyone from an opposing position.



NIFI is working to ensure that Israel's case is put reasonably and fairly to the people of Northern Ireland.



Steven Jaffe and Terry McCorran

Co chairs, Northern Ireland Friends of Israel

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