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Heckling of an Israeli academic was disgraceful

Lindy McDowell reports (Life, March 2) on the terrible incident last month at Queen's University when an Israeli academic was shouted down so much that he had be escorted from the room and his car was attacked by pro-Palestinian attendees.

Other panel members in support of Israel had to shelter on an upper floor of the building until it was safe to emerge. This is a disgrace to Belfast and no better than the despicable affront to the Israeli vendors that took place in Castlecourt by similar pro-Palestine demonstators.

I attended a talk by the same academic the previous evening in Belfast Synagogue and he was clearly a gentleman, quietly spoken and quite unassuming.

Many universities entertain vigourous debates on the plight of the Palestinians, yet Israel rarely gets a chance to put its position across. This only exacerbates misunderstanding of the difficulties facing it.

It is the only country keeping quiet at the moment during all the turmoil in the region, as its citizens don't need to topple any undemocratically-elected despots. Perhaps Israel will lead the way for other Middle Eastern states as a 'light to the nations'. That's why lessons could have been learned in the most recent case - if only the opponents had had the courtesy to listen to what was being said.

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