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