DEBATE ON PALESTINE - It was at the height of the Israeli blitzkrieg (A German word for a "lightning war!" Remember, Hitler's hordes overrunning country after country with lightning speed?) in Lebanon in the summer of 1982 when I received a phone call from Professor Mason of the University of Natal, in Durban, informing me that the Jewish students at his University were organising a lecture by an Israeli official from the Pretoria Embassy to discuss the 'Palestinian Problem.'

As a typical Britisher he felt that it would be unfair to subject his students (a mixed bag of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews) to listen to only one side of a contentious issue.  Somebody had suggested my name to present the Muslim point of view on the subject.  He wanted to know if I would be prepared to debate with the Jew about the problem at hand.

I agreed as I had considerable experience in discussing the subject, having had numerous discussions, debates and dialogues with the Jews on the subject of Palestine during the past thirty years.

THE TITLE OF THE DEBATE: The Professor enquired of me as to how was it best to advertise the subject of the debate? I suggested the title - 'The Pros and Cons of Israel.' The Professor, pleased, commented that the title sounded very fair and just on the face of it, but would have to consult the Jewish organisers of the debate and come back to me.

A few days later, he telephoned me again and said that the Jewish students were not impressed in favour of my suggestion and wanted to change the title to - "Arabs and Israel - Conflict or Conciliation?" to which I agreed.  They further wanted me to speak first.  Again I agreed.

EITHER WAY WE LOSE!: No doubt you noted that there is a catch in the title.  Our Jewish cousins have already tied us up before the start.  Is it 'Conflict or Conciliation?' Which one would you choose?  Either way we come out second best.  If we opt for 'Conflict' in the debate, we would provoke the hostility of almost everybody in the audience. The University students would want to believe that thev are fair, just and peace-loving. They would want to believe that both sides will get a fair hearing and would want to arrive at their own objective conclusions. The Muslim opting for 'CONFLICT' would appear to be a brawler or warmonger.  While the whole world is crying for 'Peace!' the Muslim says (?)  'War!'

If we chose 'Conciliation,' to avoid the trap, then the Jews would say "Why are you then throwing stones at us?" Either way we lose.  It's 'Heads! I win! and 'Tails!' you lose!  This is the genius of the Jews, Allah bestowed upon them, a creative intelligence a degree above most.  It is a Trust from God. He gives everyone something more out of His Bounties than others - as a test; as a trial.

NOT FOR NOTHING!: When God Almighty gave His friend Ibra'him (the Holy Prophet Abraham - may the peace and blessings of God be forever with him) the good news of his 'first-born' son Isma'il (Ishmael) as we learn from the Book of Allah -


Now note the subtle change when the good news of the birth of his second son Ishaaq (Isaac) is announced -


The eldest son Isma'il, his character, characteristics and idiosyncrasies of his progeny, the Arabs, are being prophesised in the Word of God, the Holy Qur'an, as 'HALIM' meaning - humble, submissive, ready to forbear in the Way of Allah.  And Ishaaq the progenitor of the Jewish race, as a person endowed with wisdom, knowledge and intelligence with its accompanying responsibility.

NOTHING NEW: In trying to catch us out with the poser 'Conflict or Conciliation?' our cousins were doing nothing new.  It was the same old game they played with Jesus Christ (May Peace be upon him) some two thousand years ago.  The Jews came to him Jesus again and again with posers and riddles.  Watch their matchless flattery and cunning:

Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man...

Tell us, therefore, What thinkest thou?  Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt me, ye hypocrites?

Show me the tribute money.  And they brought unto him a coin.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesarls.  Then saith he unto them, Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things

which are Caesar's; and unto God, the things that are God's.*

Holy Bible (Matthew 22:16-21)

* There is no dichotomy in Islam.  God's and Caesar's.  Everything is God's.  But this is not the point discussed here.

Jesus (Peace be upon him) was no less a Jew than his questioners. They were bent on trapping him, but he turned the tables on them. He caught them! If Jesus answered 'Pay the taxes,' ('tribute money') then they, the Jewish leaders would tell the masses that Jesus was no Messiah (translated Christ, meaning the annointed one), the liberator of the Jews from Roman bondage, but instead was a stooge of the Roman oppressors. On the other hand, had he said 'Don't pay taxes!' Then they would not pay, and if they were arrested for non-payment of taxes, they would plead that 'Our Messiah forbids us the paying of tax.' Jesus would be in trouble with the authorities.  Either way he loses. It's heads I win and tails you lose!

This is not by any means the last of their stratagems to confute and confound Jesus.  The Scribes and Pharisees (the learned men of the Jews), confront Jesus again.

And the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.***

Now Moses in the Law, commanded us that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?

This they I said, tempting him that they might trap him...

So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Holy Bible (John 8:3-7)

*** Strangely enough, Jesus never asked about the whereabouts of the adulterer.
The Law said that the man as well as the woman were to be stoned to death.

The Jews again wanted to ensnare Jesus into their trap.  If out of love and compassion for the weak and lowly of this earth Jesus had said, "Let her go free", then the Jews would have proclaimed
to the nation that this is no man of God.  "He is not the Messiah we are waiting for." For is it not written in the Book of Leviticus (20:10) THAT THE ADULTERER AND THE ADULTERESS
MUST BE PUT TO DEATH (?).  If on the other hand had he pronounced this death penalty according to the Law of Moses, they would surely have stoned the woman to death, although it was against the Law of the land, for adultery was not a capital crime in the Roman Empire, nor is it a crime today in any Judeo-Christian nation on earth.

ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA: Jesus found himself between the 'Devil and the Deep Blue Sea!'
Either way he was caught in the Jewish trap - against the 'Law of Moses' or against the 'Law of Rome?'

Jesus himself does not directly address the question.  He skilfully extricates himself from the problem with - "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8:7 above)

He knew his people well for what they were - "A wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew 12:39).

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: As the Jews did unto Jesus, their children did unto me. They wanted the subject of the debate to be - 'Conflict or Conciliation?' "You shall have it as you like", I agreed to the topic with my eyes open. Generally, Muslims go into battle with their eyes closed.  The numerous United Nations resolutions, the Camp David Accord, and various ceasefire agreements are testimonies to their ineptitude. The Jews said that I should speak first in the debate to which I agreed, knowing that there are advantages and disadvantages in speaking first.

It was at the height of the Israeli cluster-bombing of Muslim West Beirut that the great debate took place in the Great Hall of The University of Natal in 1982.

The debate was an enormous success, and was followed by a very lively question and answer session with questions from the TI floor fired at both speakers, of which was all video-taped. Because of certain technical reasons it was not good enough to be included in our circuit.  Today we can boast of some 60 different video programmes of extremely good quality.  Including 'ARABS and ISRAEL - Conflict or Conciliation?' - a lecture delivered in Cape Town with questions and answers from the floor.

The main thrust of the debate with Dr. E. Lottem was that the Jews had no moral or ethical right to Palestine.

Dr. Lottem, at the end of that memorable debate in 1982, confided in me that "it was the Christians who were behind all that strife in Palestine." The Christian world is itching for the moment to start a conflagration of total annihilation - what they call "Armageddon" in Palestine. No Armageddon, then no second coming of Christ! They are obsessed with this devilish thought of human carnage so staggering that the loss of human life and limb of the lst and 2nd World Wars combined would seem like picnic parties.

The Jews do not believe in the Christian story of Jesus coming into the clouds to draw all surviving believers to himself in midair and into eternity, but this Christian frenzy to bring about a quick return of Christ suits the Jews in gaining blind Christian support for Israel.

Another planned debate on the subject - "Solution to the Palestinian Problem," between myself and Rabbi Rosen was undermined by the Zionists.


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