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A safe space for disagreement on Israel/Palestine – By Matthew Brown and Athan Yanos.

The tensions and conflicts between Israel and Palestine have once again culminated in violence, bloodshed, loss of life, and widespread dismay across the world. There have been large protests and gatherings on our campus and on many other university campuses across the UK, Europe, and America. However, space for calm, evidence-based discussion which helps members of universities and the wider public to understand the complex and contested background to the conflict has been hard to establish and maintain in the face of polarisation, fear, and accusations of bigotry. This is why we have decided to put on a series of events to discuss this difficult and contentious issue. The first of these events will be held on the 4th March 2024, 6-9pm at 50 George Square, Lecture hall 3.


What is our aim? We hope to show that it is necessary and possible to come together when we have disagreements, however profound, and bring our arguments to the table outside of the political influence and interests of state actors and mainstream narratives. We want to create a space that is safe for courageous disagreement so that we can try to build understanding – both on what is agreed upon and disagreed upon. We both understand and respect that anger is something that many people feel in relation to this topic. Anger is an energy that can lead to understanding, mutual respect, and progress if it is appropriately channelled. We want to facilitate criticism that seeks to uplift and create, not to tear down and destroy. To that effect, we ask all participants to engage in good faith, seeking to understand points on which they may have irreconcilable difference, and avoiding personal ad hominem attacks.


To allow for enough time to get into the details of this difficult topic we are hosting three-hour events. The format will be a live long-form 90-minute recording of a moderated discussion between speakers who will have plenty of time to articulate their perspectives and engage in a dialogue with other speakers. This will be followed by a Q&A segment where the audience can ask questions and raise points of discussion.


The first event will address the ethical, legal, and political justifications for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, considering the historical events leading up to 1948. The second event will focus on the events / interactions between Israel and Palestine after 1948 until the early 21st century.  The focus of this event will be the dynamic between Israel and Palestine following the establishment of the state of Israel.  The third event will focus on the build-up to October 7th, 2023, its aftermath, and the future.


Our aim is to facilitate a space where this discussion and all perspectives on the issue can be raised and considered. We want this difficult issue to be made accessible to as many people as possible and for people to hear the arguments from various positions so that they are in the best possible position to make up their own minds. We also want to show that it is possible to come together in times such as these in pursuit of truth, justice, and wisdom. It is crucial that we take real steps as a society to lower the temperature, which we believe starts and finishes with continued dialogue.


If you would be interested in attending or speaking at this event, then please book a ticket here or email if you have any questions.

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