(CHICAGO 02/01/2012) – Kristin Szremski, AMP director of media and communications handily won a debate against the Israeli Deputy Consul General Tuesday night in front of a packed house at Kankakee Community College in downstate Illinois. Szremski’s concise answers filled with facts and statistics left the career diplomat, Shahar Arieli, looking disorganized and unprepared.
Kankakee Community College is in Kankakee County, about 60 miles south of Chicago. With few Muslims or Jews in the region, Palestine is not much on the radar of the mostly blue-collar and farming communities.
“That’s why this event was so important to AMP, which is reaching out into new and untapped audiences,” said Awad Hamdan, AMP national programs director. “We are so happy that those who attended were able to see Israeli propaganda melt away under the weight of the verifiable facts, statistics and quotes our media director conveyed.”
Each presenter had 30 minutes to make a case, followed by a 5-minute rebuttal. The remainder of the event was dedicated to a spirited question and answer session, where AMP once again dominated the discussion.
Instead of debating the issues, Arieli obfuscated the facts on the ground by instead trying to paint Israel as a small, vulnerable victim under siege by Palestinians who, he said, have “created a culture of hate.”
“Israel cannot argue the facts,” Szremski said. “That’s why they turn to smears or distorting the truth or even outright lies to try to deflect the discussion away from the fact their policies violate international laws and deprive Palestinians of their basic human rights.”
One attendee said she had come as with a pro-Israel viewpoint but was leaving with a pro-Palestinian viewpoint, based upon the facts AMP presented.
AMP, in carrying out its theme, “A New Era of Activism,” will be engaging in activities such as this debate throughout the year. Other new national
programs include the Discover Palestine tabling event and the monthly Palestine Chronicles, intimate gatherings to discuss current events in Palestine that emphasize how to advocate for Palestinian rights in the United States.