THE MANY problems faced by Britain – whether economic or social – are not going to be solved by screaming and shouting. Thus, the National Liberal Party is not interested in ‘hitting the headlines’ using the tired formula of macho–posturing and gesture politics. These problems will only be overcome by a combination of careful thought and action.
This means that we favour informed and reasoned debate. Here we concentrate on arguments, points of view and facts. We are not interested in personalities, prejudice or promoting self-interest.
The National Liberal Party seeks to build an organisation that encourages free speech and debate. To do this, we also attempt to take into consideration as many views as is possible in open debate. Thus, members and supporters are always encouraged to have their say.
We’re also interested in encouraging people to develop their debating skills. That’s why the NLP has introduced a new series of articles called Have Your Say! Whilst each subject will be announced on this web-site, they’ll be conducted in full on the National Liberals Facebook site, which can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/52739504313/?fref=ts
Before we start our third debate we’d like to remind folks of our ground rules:
- First of all, say what you think – but think what you say.
- Secondly, just debate the issue(s) raised. There should be no personal attacks.
- As previously noted, we’re simply not interested in personalities.
- Please note that we may ask selected members and supporters to play ‘devil’s advocate’. Hopefully, this’ll help sharpen the debating skills of all involved!
- Finally, it should be remembered that all of the views expressed in Have Your Say! are personal and should not be taken to be the official view of the NLP itself.
With all this in mind, we ask National Liberals to carefully study the cartoon – drawn by Gerald Scarfe and printed much earlier this year in the Sunday Times – which depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appearing to lay bricks for a wall using the bodies and blood of Palestinians. The caption to the cartoon read “Will cementing the peace continue?”
The cartoon was attacked by the Board of Deputies of British Jews who – in a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission – likened it to something that’s usually published by “the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press.” However, this view wasn’t shared by everyone – see the excellent article by the Jewish writer, Simon Kelner, here:
Whilst it’s clear to National Liberals that the Scarfe cartoon is specifically directed at Mr. Netanyahu’s and his policies (and can in no way be described as ‘anti-Semitic’) we’d be keen to know what our readers think.
Allied to this main question are several others: is it right to avoid debating the Israeli/Palestinian question by accusing people of being ‘anti-semitic’? In fact, is it right to avoid any sort of debate simply by slinging mud and making vague and broad statements that someone is ‘anti-semitic’, ‘anti-muslim’, ‘anti-Irish’, ‘racist’, ‘homophobic’ or whatever? Also, can a cartoon (like the one produced by Scarfe) ever be described as ‘hateful’? Indeed, What Constitutes ‘Hate’?