January 28, 2005

Boos against Melanie Phillips

Well the debate has now taken place on the proposition "Zionism today is the real enemy of the Jews" and the motion was carried by 355 to 320. I thought that this didn't tell us much about the debate as the anti-Zionists may have been more motivated to attend. But Intelligence Squared, very helpfully, took audience polls before and after the debate. Before the debate, for and against were very evenly matched at 30.6% and 30.4% respectively and the don't knows stood at 39%. After the debate the don't knows were reduced to 5.5%,for stood at 49.7% and against at 44.8% So the Zionists and the anti-Zionists were both quite persuasive on the night. But the antis clinched it. The online vote was a tad different with the Zionists getting 97.2% and the antis getting 2.5%. The curious feature of the online poll, to my mind anyway, is that the don't knows got 0.3%. Why would someone bother to vote "don't know" in an online poll?

Anyway, according to the Jewish Chronicle. Melanie Phillips, speaking against the motion, indeed saying that "this is a profoundly anti-Jewish motion, a prejudice based on a set of calumnies". She was booed. Tellingly, another opponent of the motion, Professor Shlomo Ben Ari, in contrast to Phillips, "was given a respectful hearing".

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