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My 27-minute presentation on the Israel / Palestine dispute

I was speaking alongside a Palestinian speaker. Accordingly, while I consider my presentation balanced, I ensured that the Israeli perspective was presented.


Presented 25 May 2019. Posted 26 August 2019. Updated16 September 2022.

Earlier this year, I agree to speak at an event on Israel and Palestine in Birmingham.

The event was scheduled for 3 ½ hours, with three speakers having half an hour each, with the rest of the time for questions and answers. It was an open event, but given the sponsoring organisation, most of the audience would be of Pakistani origin.

Below are:

  1. More background on the event.
  2. Video of my presentation.
  3. My responses in the question and answer session.
  4. How you can watch the full event.

More background on the event

Poster advertising the seminar.

The event was billed as the 1st Annual Rashid Hasan Khan Seminar. It was organised by The Neem Tree which describes itself as "A Forum for Discussion and Dialogue."

From attending the event, I learned that Rashid Hasan Khan was a student activist and left wing journalist in Pakistan. There is very little on the internet in English about him. (Please send me relevant links, or mention them using the Disqus comments facility.) I believe that the organisers knew him personally.

The planned speakers were:

The day before the event, Dr Hirsh was taken ill and informed the organisers that he would not be able to attend.

My slides were already finalised at that stage, and my presentation aimed to give a balanced view of the dispute. However being conscious of Dr Hirsh's absence, I decided to ensure that the Israeli case was properly put during my presentation and the Q&A session.

Video of my presentation

Presentation outline

  1. The speaker
  2. Why do I care?
  3. What do I think?
  4. What do I do?
  5. Bibliography


How the presentation was recorded

My first presentation recording was done on the spur of the moment, just putting my iPhone 6 on the table and relying on its built in microphone. See my page Lecture: One Muslim’s Perspective on Religious Freedom.

Once I found recording presentations worthwhile, I purchased a high quality Sennheiser digital lapel microphone which plugs into the lightning port of my iPhone. That produces a much better recording.

The slides

I am happy to share the original PowerPoint slide presentation.

My responses in the question and answer session

The lapel microphone I was wearing was sensitive enough to pick up the questions from the floor, although the sound quality is variable. However, I am not publishing my full audio recording for two main reasons:

  1. While the sound quality of my responses is very clear, the questioners were some distance from the microphone. Accordingly, in many cases their questions are almost inaudible.
  2. The organisers recorded a video of the entire event. While that cannot be embedded on my website, I have included a link lower down on the page.

For this sub-section, I have listened to the Q&A session and, where I regard the questions as being worth sharing, have written down a condensed version of the questions. I have then published the audio of my answers.

1. What is the distinction between anti-Israeli views, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

2. The questioner asserted that at the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 “The Jews in Britain actually opposed it.” He stated that a Jewish member of the Cabinet opposed the declaration, and also asserted that Balfour himself was an antisemite.

Recording of my 1-minute answer

3. If there should be a peace settlement, what in your view should be the status of Jerusalem?

Recording of my 40-second answer

4. There is a rising tide of antisemitism in countries such as Poland, Hungary and other Eastern European countries. At the same time  the current Israeli government is busy establishing closer ties with these countries. How do you explain this apparent paradox?

Recording of my 30-second answer

5. The questioner asserted that no Palestinian in Israel has the right to take an issue to Israel’s Supreme Court. What were my views on this?

Recording of my 45-second answer

6. Is the recent Nation State Law an example of apartheid?

In my answer, I have left in an interjection from the chairman about the status of the Gaelic language in Scotland.

Recording of my 90-second answer

7. For Palestinians, is the answer armed struggle or peaceful resistance? Alternatively should both methods be used?

Recording of my 40-second answer

8. Gaza is sealed on three sides: The Israeli border, the sea controlled by Israel, and the Egyptian border. Why does Egypt keep its border with Gaza closed?

Recording of my 20-second answer

9. A question about Hamas led me to comment on the origins of Hamas.

Recording of my 1-minute answer

10. Why did the Oslo accords not succeed in bringing about peace?

Recording of my 15-second answer

How you can watch the full event

The entire event was recorded in a video which lasts 2 hours and 25 minutes. That was originally posted as a Facebook video, (so could not be embedded on my website) but in May 2021 was added to YouTube so I have embedded it below.

As first 2 minutes and 30 seconds are spoken in Urdu, I have set the embedded video to start at the point where the English begins with the event Chairman Dr Izhar Khan setting the scene.

The main drawback with this video is that the camera stays on the speakers all of the time. Accordingly, while you can watch me speaking, you cannot see the slide that I was projecting at the time. That is the benefit of watching my video above.

My slide 18 whose text is copied below had a deliberately provocative title to emphasise the message. The slide's title plus what I was saying created significant unhappiness in part of the audience, as you can hear starting at 1:15:46.

They wanted to be able to interrupt my presentation to ask questions and challenge what I was saying. When the event Chairman Dr Izhar Khan rightly insisted that all questions must be held until the Question & Answer Session, about six people walked out.

The full interruption can be heard on the video, and you can watch the Chairman seeking to control the audience, although I excised it from my own video above, as the interruption would serve no useful purpose to anyone watching my video. (Apart from anything else, the audience's complaints cannot be heard very well.)

Slide 18: Palestinian acts of self-harm


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