April 26, 2019
As I reported previously on this website, University of Ottawa Professor Isaac Nahón-Serfaty disrupted a presentation on Venezuela which I gave in Ottawa weeks ago.
During that presentation, Nahón-Serfaty repeatedly accused me of lying about Venezuela without presenting a shred of evidence that I had made any false statements. When an elderly member of the audience objected to his theatrics, Nahón-Serfaty rushed toward that elderly gentleman and had to be restrained.
On March 25, two days after my presentation in Ottawa, Nahón-Serfaty challenged me to a debate on Twitter. As soon as his challenge came to my attention, I accepted the challenge subject to two conditions: (1) that the moderator of our debate be mutually acceptable; and (2) that we both sign a declaration that we would accept no compensation for the debate.
I then asked Nahón-Serfaty to provide to me dates on which he was available to debate me. After I complained on Twitter about his failure to respond, he assured me that he would answer me when he considered it the “right time” to do so.
A week later, after having heard nothing from Nahón-Serfaty, I noted again on Twitter his failure to respond to me and I again asked him to provide me with dates. At that point, Nahón-Serfaty stated that he was busy dealing with his mother’s health issues. He counselled me again to be patient.
Over the ensuing days, I noticed that Nahón-Serfaty continued to be active on social media despite his claim that family issues prevented him from providing me with dates for a debate. I then suggested to him on Twitter that the true reason for his failure to advance discussions about our debate was that, in reality, he did not want to debate me and that his debate challenge was nothing but empty bluster.
Four days later, during which time I heard nothing from Nahón-Serfaty, he tweeted that he had been off Twitter because of Passover celebrations and that I would hear from him by the end of the week to set a date for our debate.
Today, I did indeed hear from Nahón-Serfaty, but not, as he assured me, for the purpose of setting a date for our debate.
Rather, Nahón-Serfaty has now announced that he will not debate me after all. The preposterous reason he has given for retracting his own debate challenge and reneging on his repeated assurances that he would debate me is that someone has complained to Nahón-Serfaty’s Dean about his unprofessional conduct at my speech in Ottawa several weeks ago.
Nahón-Serfaty begins his most recent thread about his debate challenge by stating that he was “considering” debating me, but that statement cannot be reconciled with his prior tweets. There is no indication in those tweets that our debate was merely a possibility that he was contemplating. Rather, Nahón-Serfaty repeatedly and publicly assured me that he would follow through with his own challenge to debate me.
Moreover, Nahón-Serfaty describes the complainant as a “witch-hunter” and refers to me as the complainant’s “spokesperson”, yet he provides no evidence whatsoever that I have had anything to do with the complainant or with the complaint to the Dean. In fact, I have had nothing to do with that complaint or with the complainant.
Even if I did have something to do with the complaint or the complainant, why would Nahón-Serfaty now refuse to debate me? A formal debate moderated by a mutually acceptable individual would be the perfect opportunity for Nahón-Serfaty to rebut any falsehoods being disseminated about him.
As my own tweets make clear, I have believed from the outset that Nahón-Serfaty’s debate challenge was insincere and was nothing more than a continuation of his immature theatrics at my Ottawa presentation.
I learned a long time ago that propagandists are terrified of debating opponents whose arguments rest on verifiable facts. Nahón-Serfaty’s pathetic conduct is but one more confirmation of that fact.