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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Eylon Aslan-Levy’

Stiff-Necked Oxford Student Triumphantly Upstages Galloway (VIDEO)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE

Remember when that virulently anti-Israel British politician, George Galloway…well there are so many ways to end that sentence, but this article refers to Galloway’s storming out of a debate at Oxford University because, as he so diplomatically announced before flouncing out of the room last February, “I don’t debate Israelis!”

Well Galloway was just had by a young Jew from Oxford who made his own dramatic exit after brandishing an Israeli flag, intoning: “I don’t debate racists!”

First the background.

The topic for debate of the world famous Oxford University debating society, the Oxford Union, on February 21 was: “Israel Should Withdraw Immediately From the West Bank.”

After Galloway, a member of Parliament representing England’s far northern district of West Bradford, completed his presentation of the “pro” side of that question, the person chosen to represent the “anti” position, Oxford University student Eylon Aslan-Levy, rose to present.

As it happens, Aslan-Levy favors what he calls “an end to the ‘Occupation.’” But his problem was with the timing desired:  Immediately.  He began his talk by referring to the failure, prior to the 2005 Disengagement, of guaranteeing Israeli security as a condition of handing over territory. He barely got the following words out before Galloway’s dramatic exit:

This is the lesson from the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which I supported – out of the same misguided faith that the cards were in Israel’s hands. Israel uprooted over 8,000 settlers and evacuated the military – but without a pledge from the Palestinians not to fire rockets at Israeli towns over the very border to which Israel had just withdrawn. We wanted peace: we got war. We mustn’t make the same mistake again. [emphasis added]

Aslan-Levy barely closed his mouth around those syllables, when Galloway ejaculated: “You said we! Are you Israeli?”

When Aslan-Levy acknowledged that he was indeed Israeli, Galloway flung his coat over his shoulder, and bellowed over it: “I’ve been misled, sorry. I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis,” and then flounced out of the room, followed by his wife.

Fast-forward to Monday evening, October 14.  The setting is again Oxford University and the forum again is provided by the Oxford Union. This time there was no debate, it was just a talk by Galloway.

According to those who were present, Galloway spoke for over an hour, mainly maligning other British politicians, telling the student audience, “you couldn’t split the difference between the left [expletive implied] cheek and the right cheek.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the prime recipient of Galloway’s verbal lacerations, but the usual far left bugaboos of  “occupation,” “colonialism” and “bankers” all score poorly in Galloway’s book and starred in his talk.  Taxation, on the other hand, is a dearly beloved concept.  When Galloway completed his talk, the floor was opened for questions.

After three questioners had their turn, Jonathan Hunter, an Oxford student, was selected as the fourth questioner. Hunter rose from the audience, gesticulating, and speaking in fluent Hebrew.

As Hunter approached the table behind which Galloway was sitting, the politician warned, “Don’t come any closer to me. What’s that up your jumper?” Galloway pointed at a bulge beneath Hunter’s sweater.  Hunter told The Jewish Press, “Galloway’s hands were shaking.”

With Galloway’s fears voiced, Hunter reached under his sweater and brandished what he had placed there, knowing he would not have been called on had it been publicly displayed before this moment:

“This is an Israeli flag, I’m an Israeli, Mr. Galloway.”

“You speak for fascists in Beirut [Hezbollah], you interviewed [former Iranian president] Ahmadinejad for Press TV,” but here Hunter was interrupted by Galloway who intoned, “you’re doing yourself a lot of harm here, son.”

Hunter again refused to be cowed, and responded to Galloway, “I think you did a lot of harm by not speaking to my friend Eylon [Aslan-Levy, referring to the February debate], and not having a constructive dialogue with him, and sir, I don’t have a question for you, as you can see, because I don’t debate with rascists. Thank you, sir.”

With that, Hunter opened the Israeli flag, hoisted it up over his head, holding it aloft and streaming behind him, he strode, stiff-necked, from the room.

UK’s Zionist Jewry Rejects British J Street Clone

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Zionist Federation, the official representative body of Jewish organizations in England, this week rejected the membership application of Yachad UK, the leftist J Street-esque organization which was formed in England in 2011.

The vote took place on Monday, February 25, and was conducted as required by the ZF’s constitution: member organizations vote to decide whether an applicant organization’s mission and actions are consistent with the mission of the ZF.

According to a statement by the ZF, every constituent organization was given the opportunity to consider Yachad’s application, and representatives of those organizations consulted with their members in order to make a decision.  This process began ten months ago.  When the ZF met on Monday, the organization representatives voted on and rejected Yachad UK’s application.

Although ZF leadership members were unwilling to respond to media inquiries about the decision, they pointed to the deliberative process in which the ZF had engaged, which was consistent with prior membership decisions.

In response to the vote, Yachad, which is Hebrew for “together,” went on the offensive.  It instituted an email campaign informing contacts that they are being discriminated against, along with a twitter attack with the hashtag “whatswrongwithmyzionism.”

Yachad’s first line of offense was to present themselves as innocent Zionist victims of overbearingly aggressive, right-wing Zionist Jews.  They claimed at the top of their website that, “78% of Anglo Jewry favour a two state solution. Is their Zionism not good enough for the Zionist Federation?”

The Zionist Federation issued a public statement in response.  “It is important to note that despite claims by Yachad’s statement, the ZF strongly supports peace in the Middle East and the two state solution.  To say that we do not is factually incorrect.”

WHAT IS YACHAD UK?

Yachad UK is quite similar in orientation and mission to J Street in the U.S.  The tagline for Yachad is “together for peace, together for Israel,” and it describes itself as “the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement for British Jews,” exactly the same claim J Street makes for U.S. Jews.  About the only difference between the two organizations, as Hannah Weisfeld, Yachad’s director, said at its launch, is that Yachad will not engage in political lobbying.

And just as is the case with J Street, there are many Zionists who do not believe Yachad’s self-description is accurate.  They instead claim that Yachad’s relentless criticism of Israel and refusal to make any demands on the Arab Palestinians reveals the true nature of Yachad, one that they believe is instead an anti-Zionist orientation.

DOES YACHAD PRESENT ITSELF AS A ZIONIST ORGANIZATION?

The pingpong match of public statements declaring either that Yachad is a Zionist organization that should be welcomed into the UK’s Zionist Federation, or that it is an anti-Zionist organization which has no place in the ZF is not especially helpful in determining the truth.

Rather than look at the public rhetoric, The Jewish Press decided it is most useful to see what Yachad really does and where Yachad really goes. The best way to do this is to peruse the activities posted on Yachad UK’s Facebook page.

This is what you will find there:

• November 11 and February 10, Yachad showed the movie “The Law in These Parts,” a movie that is “a compelling indictment of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza,” another shows a Yachad trip to Israel in which the participants join up with an Israeli leftist activist group, Ir Amim, to rally against Jews living in parts of Jerusalem.

• February 11th and 12th meetings with former Haaretz editor David Landau, who famously told U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should “rape Israel,” and that it has always been a secret erotic dream of his to discuss this with her.”

• July 29, June 21, June 18, June 17 meetings with Nadav Greenberg of “Just Vision,” who recently completed a documentary, “Budrus and Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah,”  that presents four people, all of whom oppose the Israeli efforts to allow Jews to live in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem, known to pro-Arab Palestinian activists as the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Most of the more than 100 photos on Yachad’s page are of Yachad trips to Israel.

Oxford Students Resoundingly Reject BDS Movement

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, is an exemplar of academic elite institutions.  Tonight,  February 27, the student leadership there voted to reject the motion to join in and promote the economic and political warfare anti-Israel effort known as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

Students had been discussing the motion and voted in their own colleges in advance of tonight’s vote. “This boycott goes against everything the university stands for.  The idea that we are not going to read your books or articles or hear your arguments on the basis of your nationality is ridiculous,” Henry Watson, a student at Magdalen College, a constituent college of Oxford, said.  Magdalen College voted to defeat the motion 39-3, earlier this week.

The representatives of the affiliated Oxford colleges, who comprise the Oxford Student Union Organization, met in St. Edmund Hall tonight where the motion was put immediately to a vote.  The motion was defeated, 69 – 10.  There were 15 abstentions.

Had the motion passed, Oxford would have been required to recommend to Britain’s National Union of Students that they join the global BDS movement against Israel.

A representative of Brasenose College, Eylon Aslan-Levy, said, “Tonight Oxford students showed that their commitment to intellectual freedom is unshakeable.  In rejecting calls for a boycott against Israel by a seven-to-one margin, we demonstrated resoundingly that we want Oxford to continue to cooperate with Israeli academics, trade with Israeli businesses and – yes – debate with Israelis in debating societies.”

Aslan-Levy was in the news earlier this week.  He was slated to present the opposing side in a debate the topic of which was, “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank.” When he began his response, his opponent, British member of parliament George Galloway, stormed out of the room upon learning Aslan-Levy is Israeli.

“I hope that other British universities will follow Oxford’s lead in standing up against divisive attempts to hinder academic cooperation and progress,” Aslan-Levy said.

British MP Storming Out: ‘I Don’t Debate with Israelis’ (Video)

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

George Galloway, the British member of Parliament who represents the district of West Bradford in Northern England, stormed out of the room at Oxford University last night in the middle of a debate when he learned that his opponent – a student who had just begun speaking – was Israeli.

The topic being debated at Oxford’s Christ Church College was: “Israel Should Withdraw Immediately From the West Bank.”

Galloway had already spoken in favor of the motion when the student who opposed the motion, Eylon Aslan-Levy, began to speak.  Aslan-Levy made it clear that his disagreement with the motion was not the question of withdrawal, as he favors an “end to the Occupation.”

But what Aslan-Levy pointed out was the critical word in the debate topic, “whether Israel should withdraw immediately. Overnight. Unilaterally. Without any guarantees from the Palestinians to match such dramatic concessions by calling an end to this century-old conflict.”

The student went on to explain how everyone should have learned a lesson from the Disengagement – the unilateral withdrawal of all Israelis, living and dead, from Gaza in 2005 – which Aslan-Levy said he supported at the time.  He explained why:

An immediate withdrawal denies Israelis and Palestinians the two essential goods that a peace treaty would secure: firstly, a framework for safety, security and cooperation; secondly, binding promises by each party to irrevocably terminate all claims or states of belligerency against the other. To forego the one chance to sign for peace on the dotted line would leave the region vulnerable, insecure, and in a perpetual state of war.

This is the lesson from the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which I supported – out of the same misguided faith that the cards were in Israel’s hands. Israel uprooted over 8,000 settlers and evacuated the military – but without a pledge from the Palestinians not to fire rockets at Israeli towns over the very border to which Israel had just withdrawn. We wanted peace: we got war. We mustn’t make the same mistake again.

As the student uttered those words, Galloway shouted out: “You said we!  Are you Israeli?”

When Aslan-Levy said he was, Galloway responded, “I’ve been misled, sorry. I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis,” and then flounced out of the room, followed by his wife.

The video of the end of the exchange shows a mixed reaction by students who were in the audience – some laughing, some clapping – it is unclear if they were clapping because Galloway stuck to his “principles” or because Aslan-Levy maintained his composure.

Galloway defended his actions in a Facebook posting: “I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the Apartheid state of Israel.  The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine – the address is the PLO.” More than 3500 “liked” his post and over 1500 posted comments, many of them vilely anti-Semitic.

Galloway later added on his Twitter feed, “Christ Church never informed us the debate would be with an Israeli. Simple.”

Yes, simple.  A member of the British government refused to appear with someone because of their nationality.  Aslan-Levy called Galloway’s action racist and unacceptable.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, the Israeli-British student said Galloway should be barred from the House of Commons. “He clearly had a problem not because I am Israeli – I’m sure he would have talked to an Israeli Arab, he didn’t want to talk to me because I am an Israeli Jew,” Aslan-Levy said.

Galloway has long been a rabid opponent of the Jewish State.  He claims Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization and has publicly met with Hamas leaders.  He also was an organizer of the “Viva Palestina” “aid convey” to Gaza in 2009.

The head of the Oxford Debating Society, in his understated British way, expressed disappointment that Galloway stormed out of the debate.

Galloway had been a member of the British Labour Party, but was expelled in 2003 when he was found guilty of “bringing the party into disrepute” for, among other things, referring to the Labour Party as “Tony Blair’s Lie Machine.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/british-mp-storms-out-i-dont-recognise-israel-and-i-dont-debate-with-israelis/2013/02/22/

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