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Minister has every right to call for arts balance

The combined onslaught of many artistic professionals, alleging that Nelson McCausland is meddling in a matter solely within the province of the artists of the Queen's Festival, I find surprising (News, March 25).

The Queen's Festival entered the political arena when last year it arranged a debate on the Middle East with a panel of two - both of whom were critical of Israel.

A third member of the panel, Professor Alderman, who would have supported Israel, had his invitation withdrawn a few days before the debate.

As to why the Queen's Festival should have arranged such an unbalanced, one-sided debate one can only speculate.

Any uncommitted person attending such a debate must surely come away convinced that all criticism levelled at Israel was justified and unanswerable.

The lambasting of the Culture Minister, Nelson McCausland, came about because he has asked, in an e-mail to the festival director, that this year the Queen's Festival should include pro-Israeli views as part of the programme. In my view the minister should be commended. It seems to me right and proper, whether one is for or against the state of Israel, that, if our arts festival is going to enter the political arena, it should do so fairly.

Helen's Bay, Co Down


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