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Oct 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM

By Ghada Karmi
The International News - 10/26/2007

The newest and least attractive import from America, following on behind Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Friends, is the pro-Israel lobby. The latest target of this US-style campaign is the august Oxford Union.

This week, two Israeli colleagues and I were due to appear at the union to participate in an important debate on the one-state solution in Israel-Palestine. Also invited was the American Jewish scholar and outspoken critic of Israel, Norman Finkelstein. At the last minute, however, the union withdrew its invitation to him, apparently intimidated by threats from various pro-Israel groups.

The Harvard Jewish lawyer and indefatigable defender of Israel, Alan Dershowitz, attacked the topic of the debate as well as the Oxford Union itself. In an article headlined "Oxford Union is dead", he accused it of having become "a propaganda platform for extremist views", and castigated its choice of what he termed anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speakers.

Yet Dershowitz could have restored the balance as he saw it; he was the first person invited by the Oxford Union to oppose the motion but he declined due, as he put it, to "the terms of the debate and my proposed teammates".

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