The debate is full of
Tzortzis' uninteresting interruptions, name-calling, personal abuse, and frenzied topic changes.
The only bits free of that are
my opening and closing speeches.
So here they are.
My opening speech. (7 min)
I address the questions:
What was 7 October?
What is the current war about?
How does this current war end?
I discuss the incredible nature of what Hamas did to their powerful, heavily-armed neighbour:
"What Hamas said to Israel clearer than I think any group has ever said to any other group in the history of the world,
or certainly right up there,
is: 'If you want to live, you have to exterminate us (Hamas).
.. If you want to have any life for your children or anything,
you have to exterminate us.'
That's what Hamas said to Israel.
So that's what Israel is doing.
Israel has declared that it is going to wipe Hamas off the map."
What an extraordinary move by Hamas. Few moments in history have a group, state or tribe begging, just begging,
to be wiped out by a great military power, and sadistically attacking that great power until it changes and obliges.
I discuss how we all (Israel and pro-Israel people) wanted Gazans to live in peace and prosperity,
enjoying the good life by the sea.
And I have made speeches
and written articles proposing that.
What a tragedy that Gazans did not want it.
Tzortzis responded to my careful, measured speech by insulting me and my wife and asking: "Why are you a racist?"
Shameful behaviour by him.
My closing speech. (4 min)
I address the questions:
What is the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Is the two-state solution dead?
Is there any hope?
Tzortzis responded to this by saying I was "othering" the Palestinians,
saying the solution is the Jews should agree to live under an Islamic state,
and closing with more personal abuse and accusations of racism.
A combination of shameful behaviour and idiotic proposals.
Here are notes and supporting links applying to the full debate.
The intro to the full debate was made by Sean Murray.
It displays stats of the destruction of the war.
I do not believe these stats are accurate, since they come ultimately from Hamas.
However, I do agree the war is terrible.
This war was not my idea.
My idea for Gaza, expressed repeatedly over recent years, was quite different:
peace and prosperity and shopping.
This awful war was Gazans' idea.
At 3:40, Tzortzis gives his opening speech.
I give my opening speech.
Abuse from Tzortzis:
At 18:30, the back-and-forth begins.
Tzortzis immediately becomes rude and offensive.
After a few sentences of abuse of me and my wife, he asks:
"Let me ask you a question. Why are you a racist?"
How do you deal with such a person?
And it does not get better.
Tzortzis keeps up the name-calling and abuse throughout.
He says that anyone who disagrees with his opinions is "either ignorant or racist"
for some reason.
He keeps up this name-calling and abuse to the end.
I stayed calm, and tried to get my points across
for a neutral audience.
Tzortzis just lets himself down with this kind of behaviour.
The number of Gazans with work permits to work in Israel before 7 October was nearly
The number of work permits for all Palestinians before 7 October was nearly
Tzortzis has a list of quotes by Israelis with apparent overtones of genocide or ethnic cleansing.
But I have not looked much into it.
The fact is, some Israelis have used dubious language over the years, and I do not plan to defend them.
What I am interested in is what is actually happening on the ground.
Is the IDF following western rules of war?
IDF accuses Hamas of using child soldiers. The Times of Israel.
"the Israeli military accused Hamas of using child soldiers, including to deliver explosive devices and to
"assess the damage" on battlefields and report it to Hamas gunmen."
says Hamas are using children to deliver messages and ammunitions.
New York Post report.
IDF officer in Gaza
(quoted in New York Post):
"The soldiers saw a 13-year old boy running with a bag near one of the schools.
He put it down and ran away.
A few minutes later it detonated, badly wounding one of the Israeli soldiers nearby."
reports a story of
Hamas using children as spotters.
In this example, because the IDF did not kill the spotters,
two IDF soldiers died.
Obviously the conclusion is not go ahead and target the children.
The conclusion is this is a really hard war to fight.
Trucks of aid going into Gaza:
7 Nov 2023:
"70 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza today.
0 hostages came out."
12 Dec 2023:
Israel allowed 170 trucks carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza.
10 Jan 2024:
"208 trucks of humanitarian aid went into Gaza today.
0 hostages came out."
12 Jan 2024:
"136 trucks crossed into Gaza today ...
A total of zero hostages came out of Gaza."
15 Jan 2024:
"227 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip today".
My initial thoughts after the debate were as follows:
The debate was a disappointment.
Here was Tzortzis' chance to talk to a pro-Israel person and have a rare conversation.
But all he was interested in was hurling anti-Israel invective at me
and pretty much ignoring every word I said.
Obviously I never expected him to change his mind (or me change mine),
but if we slowed things down and stuck to one topic every 3 minutes
(not one topic every 10 seconds) it would have been a better debate.
I understand pro-Israel people are highly alien to Tzortzis, but that is exactly why he should talk to one.
His "solution" for Israel is
that the Israelis should agree to live under Islamic majority rule.
To imagine that more than 0.1 percent of
Israelis would entertain such ideas is to live outside of reality.
Talking to Israelis and pro-Israel people would help.
Tzortzis was civil in person,
so I was surprised when from the start of the debate he became offensive and uncivil.
He rolled out words like "racist" early on, throughout, and even in his conclusion.
He focused on name calling and wild accusations, rather than listening to a word I said.
How can one debate against that?
I did my best to get some points across
but I feel his uncivil behaviour made it
a missed opportunity.
When I watched the whole video, however,
I realised it was not so bad.
Tzortzis' incivility was only part of it.
Despite his behaviour, I think the debate was worth having,
and I got across most of the points I wanted to make.
After the debate,
my initial thoughts,
more or less as above.
Tzortzis posted a
This gives the opportunity to write a "point versus point".
I give Tzortzis' point first and then my reply.
Writing it out here shows how we could have had a better debate, if we took it slow,
and found out what each other's points were,
and Tzortzis gave up the name calling and wild accusations.
"He has also misrepresented my solution. My solution included the dismantling of the apartheid system,
as peace and justice cannot coexist with apartheid."
I will discuss the idea of whether this "apartheid" system exists below.
But first I want to state the pro-Israel position.
Which is that changing any laws related to Arab Israelis or Palestinians
will have no impact whatsoever on the war.
Changing some of them will in fact escalate the war.
Only the end of Israel itself could satisfy Hamas and most Palestinians.
You helpfully suggested that at the end of your talk.
So I think Israelis have your number, and they say no.
If you want them to listen, get better ideas.
I do not think I misrepresented you about an Islamic state.
You talked at length of how there was only peace when there was Muslim rule in the land,
and so you were suggesting that as a solution.
"Mark wanted Palestinians to be content under illegal occupation, apartheid and tyranny."
The topic is Gaza.
In Gaza before 7 October, there was no "occupation, apartheid and tyranny".
Gazans could have had a state, and lived in pretty good circumstances,
at any time from 2005 to 2023.
They chose not to. They chose this war.
That window is closed to them now, maybe for decades. And they will miss it.
"He wants Palestinians to not use their legal right to resist occupation and oppression."
Our moralities differ, but nothing in my morality says that any Arab/Palestinian violence since 1947 was ever justified.
Palestinians should attempt peaceful means and all their problems would be easily solved.
Shame on Tzortzis for talking about a "right to resist"
after such a barbaric massacre.
"He had no counter arguments to the fact that Israel has
at least 60 laws that discriminate against Arab Israelis and Palestinians
This was quite a diversion from Gaza.
Almost none of this is relevant to Gaza.
I gave a lengthy talk
about the idea that
Israel is an "apartheid" state,
that somehow gives votes to Arabs,
has Arabs in power,
and has 70 percent of Arabs loyal to it.
So my answers are there.
Let's get back to Gaza.
"I have formed the conclusion he believes that Israeli blood is worth more than Palestinian.
This is clear once you watch the debate.
During the debate I said he was either racist or ignorant."
This is the kind of offensive incivility that disappointed me.
The Israel topic is full of fanatics throwing around words like "racist" and "fascist"
to anyone who disagrees.
Tzortzis was better but obviously not.
"He could not condemn the equivalent of five Oct 7s that were inflicted on the Palestinians since 2008 until around 2020."
No such "October 7ths" exist.
What Tzortzis is talking about is Hamas' wars against Israel, from
2008 to 2021,
all started by Hamas for no reason, and in all of which Israel worked hard to target Hamas not civilians.
"To my surprise he described the genocidal statements of [various Israelis] as "rhetoric". ...
Mark should be ashamed of himself for describing genocidal statements from people of power as just "rhetoric".
Mark is a genocide enabler."
Overheated statements, some with genocidal overtones, are indeed "rhetoric"
and I disagree with making them. I said I disagreed.
The reason I say they are just "rhetoric" is because there is no "genocide".
Millions of leaflet drops with detailed instructions.
Millions of text messages and phone calls to residents.
Air strikes called off when civilians appeared.
100 plus trucks a day of food and aid being allowed in.
Israel is actually feeding Hamas fighters while it fights them!
Civilian children spotters not shot
even though that led to IDF being killed.
And so on.
Whatever the war is, it is not "genocide", or else every war is "genocide".
"I would like to thank
for his hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to show how Zionists are immoral and ideologically twisted fascists."
Another example of the rude and offensive language
Tzortzis brought to the debate.
Promo for the debate.
picks a clip of me for Twitter.
Click through to play.
It is a perfectly good clip, making some core points of my side.
I know Murray is very much on the other side. That is no secret.
He thinks Gaza is genocide.
But he still tries to pick a representative clip for our side.
Credit to Murray. He does seem to believe in debate.
I am impressed.
I walked away from this far more impressed with Murray than before.
And far less impressed with Tzortzis than before.
Blocked on Twitter by the regressive left and Islamists:
I love debate.
I love ideas.
But the Western left
and their friends the Islamic right
do not return the favour.
Their response to opposing ideas, whether expressed politely or robustly, is often to block.
See Who blocks me on Twitter.
Twitter is broken, 2016 to 2022:
I am on Twitter at
Twitter was a great place for debate before 2016.
You could meet everyone in the world, and argue about ideas.
Starting in 2016,
Twitter became increasingly broken.
It became full of reporting and bans and censorship.
In 2019, Twitter even started
for no reason that was ever explained, or could be appealed.
By 2022, everyone was looking for a better place to debate.
Twitter is saved, 2022:
bought Twitter and started to end the censorship.
It looks great so far.
Twitter seems to be saved.