Emily Maitlis chairs an Intelligence Squared debate

I noted on a recent thread that my esteemed colleagues here were less than complimentary about Emily Maitlis. So when her name cropped up while I was Googling Intelligence Squared debates, I thought I’d plonk the debate above the line.

This was the proposition:

The world should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Ehud Olmert and Jack Straw were among the debaters. I’m sure I don’t need to state which side Jack Straw was on.

There was an extraordinary moment after the Palestinian speaker had spouted the customary fallacious nonsense against Israel and was challenged by Maitlis over her exaggeration of Gaza fatalities in the confrontation with the IDF on the border. It might have to go down as the first time the BBC ever bluntly told a Palestinian she was being economical with the truth.

If that wasn’t enough to make me fall off my chair there was an even stronger challenge from Maitlis after Olmert’s partner, a UK barrister, pointed out that the Palestinian debater is not prepared to recognize Israel within any boundaries at all.

Having recovered from the fall off the chair I watched the rest of the debate with increased interest. Maitlis also strongly challenged the Israeli side and I have to conclude that overall she didn’t do a bad job at all as chair.

I haven’t been able to find out where the debate was held but the audience was evidently slanted – surprise, surprise – in favour of the Palestinians. Still, there was considerable support for the proposition and I came away from the debate with the impression that the UK tide might finally be turning against the Arab side of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

But perhaps that is unduly optimistic.

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12 Responses to Emily Maitlis chairs an Intelligence Squared debate

  1. Dover Sentry says:

    I hope you are right.

    The BBC bias against Israel has been shameful. Perhaps the exposure of the anti-Semites within the BBC’s Labour Party has something to do with this?


    • TrueToo says:

      Interesting observation, Dover Sentry. Perhaps Maitlis was simply trying to demonstrate that the BBC is not really anti-Israel and would never dream of being anti-Semitic.

      First thing Straw said was to distance himself from Labour anti-Semitism.


  2. JimS says:

    “I haven’t been able to find out where the debate was held..”

    It was held at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London on the 18th June 2018.


  3. StewGreen says:

    Here’s the vid
    Pre vote then after
    27% support Jerusalem as capital .. 37%
    46% opposed … 61%
    27% undecided .. 2%
    ie an extra 5% MORE were persuaded to oppose
    So Opposers won by all metrics


    • TrueToo says:

      Stew Green,

      True, it means the side against the recognition of Israel increased it’s initial majority slightly more than the side for recognition increased it’s minority.


  4. StewGreen says:

    Emily Maitliss is a BBC staffer listed as freelance AFAIK
    so whilst saying that she is not paid enough she takes these side jobs.
    Is this OK ?
    Her profile and skills come from her licence payer paid platform,
    … so really she should be listed as a BBC staffer
    … and then when they lease her out, they should share the cut.


  5. Lucy Pevensey says:

    This performance might cost Ms Maitlis her Biased BBC personality of the year nomination. 😉


    • TrueToo says:

      Thanks for the chuckle Lucy Pevensey. You are right. This is going to really mess with her chances of winning.


  6. Lucy Pevensey says:


  7. Rick Bradford says:

    Maitlis may be OK as a chairperson, but when she went up against Peter Szijjarto, the Hungarian Foreign Minister, she was handed her hat in no uncertain terms.

    Szijjarto was excellent.


    • TrueToo says:

      Rick Bradford,

      Having watched Maitlis admonishing and insulting the Hungarian Foreign Minister while completely ignoring the reasonable and sensible points he made about the idiocy of the EU migration ‘policy’ makes me think she should stick to chairing debates.