Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon found himself between the pro-Israel lobby and the pro-Palestine lobby this week. One of the purposes of free speech and open debate is to establish the facts and persuade listeners. By absenting themselves from the United Nations debate on Racism countries such as the USA and New Zealand deprived themselves of a platform to argue their point of view. Yes - there is a risk that in joining the debate we hear things from others that we do not like. But that is the nature of debate. Tolerance and freedom are hallmarks of the liberal ethos and we depart from them at our peril.