Latest update: December 30th, 2013
Never one to leave a small disaster without turning it into a larger one, Galloway responded to Hunter’s display by telling the room that the Israeli flag has become the icon for England’s fascist front, after stating the last time he saw an Israeli flag was at a demonstration by the highly controversial English Defense League, on Saturday.
“When I learned Galloway was coming back to Oxford,” Hunter, a second year history student of Brasenose College, Oxford University, told The Jewish Press the day after the event, “I knew he should not get a clean ride after what happened last time.”
Hunter and other pro-Israel Oxford students discussed what should be done. Some wanted to interrupt Galloway’s speech, but Hunter said that would only diminish the message he was hoping to send.
“I unfurled the Israeli flag to show I exist, to proudly display my national identity,” Hunter explained.
Although Hunter was born in England, his mother is Israeli, and therefore he has Israeli citizenship.. She was born in Beer Sheva. And although Hunter’s father is not Israeli, the rest of his father’s family has moved to Israel.
In an email from England, Eylon Aslan-Levy, the Oxford student who inspired Hunter’s dramatic – yet dignified – display of nationalism, responded to our request for comment with this: “I’m tremendously proud of Jonathan for having the courage to stand up to that odious racist, especially when other students gave him an undeservedly warm welcome back to Oxford.”
Jonathan Hunter was told that Galloway referred to the Israeli flag as a fascist icon after his own walkout. When asked for his response, Hunter said, “I know, he was essentially saying that all Israelis are fascists. He equates Zionism with Fascism.”
“You know, there is a part of Galloway’s speech that was not captured on video,” Hunter confided to The Jewish Press, “it was later, after I left. Galloway described the Israeli presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Line as equivalent to a Nazi occupation of Great Britain.”
Oh, and in other news from Monday night’s event, the news Galloway surely hoped would be the big takeaway: Galloway announced he is running for mayor of London in 2016, according to the Oxford Student Liveblog of the event.
Maybe that’s Galloway’s real beef with Israel. It isn’t that the Israelis have “stolen” anyone’s land, it’s that the Israelis keep stealing Galloway’s headlines. Well, here’s one more.
Again, according to the Oxford Student Liveblog, after Galloway threw in his hat for the London mayor’s race during his talk, Eylon Aslan-Levy (@Eylon_AL) tweeted a response to the announcement: “In which case, I’m considering a run too, if only to knock him out of the mayoral debates.”
Gotta love those proud Zionist Oxford men! But shame on those Oxford students for applauding Galloway’s description of the Israeli flag as a fascist symbol.
UPDATE: After a call for correction to the Oxford Union was made by The Jewish Press, the president of the Oxford debating society agreed to correct the inaccurate description provided for the posted YouTube video of Israeli student Jonathan Hunter’s exchange with Galloway. The description falsely states that “George Galloway is accused of being a racist as an Israeli student interrupts his speech.” In fact, as The Jewish Press pointed out on the site,
The description of this video is INCORRECT. Why did the Oxford Union claim the Israeli student interrupted Galloway’s speech? Surely they knew, as did everyone in the room, that Galloway had finished speaking and the Israeli student, Jonathan Hunter, made his statement during the Question and Answer portion.
We’ll have to check to see if the description of the video is corrected, as promised, on Wednesday morning, October 17.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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