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No ‘Respect’ for Racist Demagogue

Background on MP George Galloway, the British legislator who refused to debate an Israeli.
British MP George Galloway (center) arriving at the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza, leading an international aid convoy of more than 500 activists, January 06, 2010.

British MP George Galloway (center) arriving at the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza, leading an international aid convoy for Hamas.
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

I’m going to devote today’s post to one of my least favorite humans, George Galloway.

My U.K. readers already know probably more than they want to about him, but it occurred to me that others, Americans in particular, don’t know who or what he is. So I’ll do my best to remedy that.

Galloway, 58, is a member of the British Parliament for Bradford West, located in Yorkshire in north-central England. He was elected in 2012 by a landslide, receiving 56% of the vote; his nearest competitor got only 25%. Galloway, formerly a garden-variety leftist, was kicked out of the Labour party in 2003 because of his aggressive attacks on Tony Blair over British participation in the Iraq war.

In 2004, he joined a new left-wing party called “Respect,” which he and his faction shortly came to dominate. Galloway was the first M.P. elected by Respect, whose official ideology seems to be a sort of leftish populism.

Galloway has made it more than that, adding elements to appeal to Muslims (Bradford West was 38% Muslim in 2001, and is probably much more than that now). The party began to downplay some of the traditional left-wing causes like women’s and gay rights, while emphasizing opposition to the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan. Galloway himself may have converted to Islam (he is coy about this, perhaps to keep the few non-Muslim working-class votes that he receives). But he makes no pretense about appealing to Muslim interests — and prejudices.

What distinguishes Galloway from other many other demagogues — even in the U.K. — is his particularly vicious hatred of Israel, which extends to support for the Jew-hating Hamas. In 2009, he played a leading role in the “Viva Palestina” convoy to bring ‘aid’ to Gaza, which resulted in his being deported from Egypt. He often speaks against Zionism and Israel on his several radio/T.V. programs — in the U.K., on a satellite channel linked to Iran and Syria in Lebanon and the U.S. (on Pacifica station WBAI New York).

Hizballah, too, meets with his approval. “Hizballah is not and has never been a terrorist organisation. It is the legitimate national resistance movement of Lebanon,” he tells us. Ideology isn’t important as long as someone wants to kill Jews.

Galloway is always good for a rousing stump speech on the evils of Zionism and that “little Hitler state on the Mediterranean.” Just search for him on YouTube.

In short, Galloway is a man who has built a political persona and a career on hating Israel. Since explicit racial or ethnic hatred for groups of people is unfashionable — at least, in some parts of the West, although it is making a comeback — he must focus on abstract objects of hatred, like Zionism and Israel. His supporters aren’t deceived, and neither am I.

Galloway’s latest thuggish expression of hatred came with very little provocation. In response to an Oxford student who called for a peaceful, mutually agreed upon two-state solution, he suddenly asked “are you Israeli?” When the student answered in the affirmative, Galloway announced that he doesn’t debate Israelis, he doesn’t recognize the state of Israel, and stomped off — followed at a respectful few paces by his wife.

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About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.

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