NEW YORK – January 11, 2012 – Last night, Intelligence Squared U.S. launched it's spring 2012 season with a sold-out debate and a decisive victory for the motion, “The U.N. Should Admit Palestine As A Full Member State.” The debate was especially heated and, according to the final votes, Mustafa Barghouthi and Daniel Levy won by convincing 18% of the audience to change their minds to support the resolution, thus winning the Oxford style debate (see full numbers below).
Watch the full debate streaming at Fora.tv here:http://fora.tv/2012/01/10/The_UN_Should_Admit_Palestine_as_a_Full_Member_State
Opponents of the motion, Dore Gold and Aaron David Miller, sought to prove that, with Hamas still prescribing armed struggle against Israel, Palestine does not meet the standards of UN admission, and that ultimately, they have set peace process back by giving up on direct negotiations. But at the end of the evening, it was Barghouthi and Levy’s arguments that, instead of continuing down the same path of failure, U.N. admission would be the first step toward changing the status quo, that convinced the audience to support the motion.
This latest intellectual matchup was IQ2US’s 57th debate and was presented in partnership with Slate.
ABC News Nightline’s John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.
Key Excerpts For the Motion:
"We know that admitting Palestine to the United Nations would not immediately create a change on the ground. We understand, but it will achieve three goals. First, it will give us hope. It will give Palestinians hope. Hope is what we need today to sustain nonviolent approach to all resistant of struggle. Desperation and lack of hope as is advocated on the other side will only bring violence and dangerous things. Second, accepting Palestine will actually invalidate all the de facto actions on the ground that are made by Israel and by creating settlements. And, third, it will send a message to the Israelis that they will not be really free unless Palestinians are also free."
"Our toolbox is an impoverished one because we have tried so much already. But sticking exclusively with negotiations really must be the dumbest idea. So what do we have left that’s nonviolent. Let’s use the international tools of diplomacy that are at our disposal to make a statement. We haven’t heard negative consequences that can come from this. And mostly we haven’t heard what else to do except to blindly continue to place our faith in negotiations or that the Palestinians somehow should only be ingratiating themselves without creating any leverage with Israel and America. It’s been tried. It hasn’t worked."
Key Excerpts Against the Motion:
AARON DAVID MILLER
"Just because negotiations are stuck, and I -- I am the first person to acknowledge just how stuck they really are -- doesn't mean that in an effort to maintain hope, to diffuse desperation and to accommodate some measure of urgency, we need to pursue an idea that I would argue to you -- and you've, in my judgment, failed to demonstrate where the real upsides are. The downsides of this are very, very real. In July 2000, we decided to recommend to Bill Clinton to go to Camp David to try to create a conflict-ending solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Do you realize that a dozen years after that summit, we are still paying for the lack of wisdom and the recklessness of that decision? Israelis and Palestinians have not yet recovered from the trauma of those ten years, because we believed in an effort to do something in the face of a desperate situation that we could make it better."
"With this unilateralism is an effort to get recognized as a Palestinian state with UN membership, without having to address our concerns, without having to address the security of Israel, without having to recognize my people's right to a nation state, even though I'm being asked to recognize his people's right to a nation state. And finally, to predetermine the outcome of negotiations by going to the UN and saying, the borders will be June 4, even though the UN back in '67 said we weren't going back to the exact '67 lines. And therefore, I suggest to you, particularly in light of the fact that we're seeing an effort to sell you an unreformed Hamas, and unreformed Islamic Jihadist part of the Palestinian political community, to reject the notion that the Palestinians should be accepted as a member state until they change."
Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted as follows:
• 37% of audience agreed with the resolution
• 30% of audience against the resolution
• 33% undecided
After careful consideration of the points by the audience, Mustafa Barghouthi and Daniel Levy won the debate: the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.
• 55% of audience agreeing with the resolution (+18%)
• 37% of audience against the resolution (+7%)
• 8% undecided (-25%)
To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and postdebate, please visit our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/Think2Twice
The showdown at NYU’s Skirball Center in New York City (566 LaGuardia Place) puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• To view transcripts and videos, download audio or video clips or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S., please visit:http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/the-u-n-should-admit-palestine-as-a-full-member-state/
• NPR will air the debate on stations nationwide and the podcast will be available to download. Please check with your local NPR stations for additional details or visit: http://www.npr.org/series/6263392/intelligence-squared-u-s
• WNET/Thirteen will air this debate Saturday, February 4 at 3PM
ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES (IQ2US)
Rethink your point of view with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), Oxford-style debates live from New York City.
Based on the highly successful debate program based in London, the Intelligence Squared Foundation has presented over 50 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From global warming and the financial crisis, to Afghanistan/Pakistan and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues.
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