*See note at end of this post for petition to sign
Not only has Edgar Davidson written three marvellous posts on the topic (the first here), showing, in the latest, apparent influences on young Leanne in the formation of her views, but (being never a mere keyboard warrior) he has been instrumental in persuading the Speakers Trust (to its great credit, the more so in its speedy response) to deny Leanne and her speech a further platform under its auspices.
Its CEO, Julie Holness, has informed him:
"Thank you very much for your email, which my colleague Rebecca Griffiths has this morning forwarded to me. We take your concerns very seriously.
Every year thousands of young people are trained in the art of public speaking. They are encouraged to speak out on something they feel passionately about and of course they bring with them their history and culture and beliefs.
There are, however, two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training:
- the speech must have a positive and uplifting message - in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation.
- a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.
It is, however, the school that votes through its most talented speaker in an Assembly final and an independent panel of judges from the local community who select their regional winner. Speeches at this level will have been further developed and even rewritten, with the training guidelines but without our input on content. Judges do not mark a speaker down because they disagree with a point of view but they are clearly briefed on the those guidelines. Unfortunately, with over 18,000 young people trained annually, a speech that does not observe these ground rules may very rarely get through on passion and delivery.
Last Saturday a Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation judging panel decided unanimously against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the next stage and she will not be speaking at the Grand Final. These were precisely our concerns.
As a Speakers Trust trainer I was responsible for managing the schools in Redbridge and I have a close affinity with the region. Please let me know if you would like me to forward your email to Wanstead High School so that your comments and reservations may be heard..."Mr Davidson has stressed that he has not advocated removal or censorship of the video of the speech, only that Leanne's defamation of Israel is counterbalanced by the truth.
But that, of course, has not prevented such reactions as this:
"... about love and peace?"
Meanwhile, headmaster Hamlyn's response has yet to come ...
From Wanstead High School's Twitter page, a small sample of the condemnation it's rightly received for permitting Leanne to promote her defamation of Israel:
Tardily, the Jewish Chronicle wakes up to the story
Update: The PSC and others of its ilk have begun a counter-offensive, prompting this unclear statement :
Statement from Speakers Trust
May 30, 2016
Our primary duty of care is to the young people we work with and we cannot tolerate any form of insult or abuse. We are concerned and saddened that Leanne’s experience has been less than positive.
Leanne Mohamad is the Redbridge Regional Final winner and there has never been any suggestion that she should be disqualified. Almost 190,000 young people have spoken out over the years on any topic which they feel passionately about and none has ever been banned from the process or silenced.
We are, however, a small charity without the capacity to moderate comments 24 hours a day and it was considered essential to protect Leanne by temporarily suspending the regional video over the bank holiday, until we were able to consult with her school and family.
Of 37 talented regional Champions only fifteen can be voted through to the Grand Final. This selection process took place on Saturday 21st May based on standard judging criteria and without any external influence or input.
The general “rules” of effective public speaking are guidelines to help speakers to create a speech that will connect with a large and diverse audience and every speech was judged on its own merits. At the heart of what we do lies the determination that all of our young speakers, irrespective of background, race or creed, should be able to speak out in a safe and supportive environment.Here's the text of a circular letter from "anti-Zionists" who seem totally unconcerned that lies and blood libels have been spread.
Trudy Kilcullen - Chief Executive Officer Jack Petchey Foundation
councillor wanstead council sheila bain
Bob Hamlyn Wanstead Highschool, london
MP John Cryer
I am writing to request that you uncensor Leanne Muhamad of Wansted High School, the British Palestinian Award winning schoolgirl.Leanne Muhamad won the "Speak out" challenge after giving an impressive performance to enthusiastic applause. However one day later, following complaints from extremist anti-Palestinian blogger Edgar Davidson to the Speakers Trust (the charity that trains the students to take part in the Speak Out Challenge) you have now decided against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the final rounds of the competition.Julie Holness, CEO of the Speakers Trust, alleged that Ms Mohamad had breached “two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training”. She said: “There are two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: the speech must have a positive and uplifting message - in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation [and] a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.These "two fundamantal rules" are not written as Ms Holness shared them - and also were taken out of context - it is not stated anywhere about an "uplifting message" nor is it stated anywhere about "insulting others" nor any reference to "propaganda" in the topics recommended: Topics (note not rules) should be presented in a positive/constructive manner even if the subject is of a more serious or hard-hitting nature.Leanne Muhamad's chosen topic is extremely serious and she approached it in a highly meaningful and passionate way, as a call to peace. This is an uplifting message and I am writing to ask that you uncensor her and allow her to proceed in the competition, so that her voice can be heard and to repect the freedom of expression as laid down by the law.An "uplifting message"? Well, yes, for antisemites.
Oh, the irony (from this website):
Incidentally, here's a current article in the Melbourne press regarding the propagandistic play City by the Sea that has found its way onto the school-leavers' exam curriculum in the state of Victoria (other states, watch out!), news of which I broke on this blog. Anti-Israel propaganda aimed at schools seems to be de rigueur these days.
* NB Brian of London's excellent refutation of Leanne's misrepresentations that malign Israel forms the basis of a petition here (please sign and spread the word)
Brian is also wonderful here, but the studio host's remarks are in places unfortunate, and the video title is outrageous and unwarranted: