Belfast Festival at Queen's: Conflict in the Middle East
The Belfast Festival has a poor record of staging balanced events on the Middle East. In recent years guest speakers have included arch critics of Israel such as Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky and George Galloway - all without reply.
This year's festival was to be no exception, with two critics billed to take part in a very one-sided 'conversation' on Conflict in the Middle East, at the Crescent Arts Centre, on 18 October.
NIFI raised this with the Festival organisers and, as a result of our intervention, a late invite has been extended to Jewish Chronicle columnist, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, to join the panel. Better late than never! The event will now be a proper debate and is already a sell out.
NIFI must be commended on its initiative and the Festival must be commended for listening to their case. The next stage is for listening to lead to learning. As we seek to build a 'shared and better future' we need to challenge the exclusion of viewpoints or interests that may not be those of the current liberal consensus.