Galloway explains why he won’t debate with Israelis – by debating with an Israeli

21st February, 2013 12:05 pm

As we reported earlier, George Galloway stormed out of a debate last night when he discovered that the other participant was Israeli. Seemingly Galloway won’t take part in any debate with an Israeli citizen, and so dual national Eylon Aslan-Levy was left to continue as the Bradford West MP stormed off.

But it seems Galloway went on to debate with another Israeli later that night – so much for his boycott. My good friend (and Labour activist) Alon Or-Bach (who like Aslan-Levy is a British Israeli and was born in Israel) challenged Galloway over his walk out in Oxford. Here’s the back and forth between the two:


So Galloway got into a debate with an Israeli about his reasons for refusing to debate with Israelis – it’s hard to boycott entire nationalities online isn’t it?

Speaking to LabourList this morning, Or-Bach said:

“I was somewhat bemused that Galloway broke his rule not to deal with Israelis in order to tell me about it. The attitude he and his ‘Respect’ colleagues hold towards Israelis cannot be squared with claiming to support equality. The hatred he spreads towards anyone with an Israeli background should be called out for the bigoty that it is, and does not belong on the left – let alone in Parliament.”

Incidentally, David Boothroyd notes that in the recent census 5 Bradford West residents have said Hebrew is their main language, suggesting Galloway has Israeli constituents. Will he refuse to speak to them too?

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  • SoylentGreenStreet

    I don’t mean to be churlish. I have no time for Galloway whatsoever and find his “policy” of not debating with Israelis typically ludicrous. But, ludicrous though it is, I can’t see how he broke this golden rule to reply (once?) to your friend’s tweet. Does it constitute a “debate”? Did he know your friend was Israeli?

  • So?

  • solidarity activist

    The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian unions, mass organisations, refugee networks and NGOs that leads and and sets the guidelines for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, supports all principled action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality that is in line with universal human rights and international law.

    In its 2005 BDS Call, Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott of Israel, its complicit institutions, international corporations that sustain its occupation, colonization and apartheid, and official representatives of the state of Israel and its complicit institutions. BDS does not call for a boycott of individuals because she or he happens to be Israeli or because they express certain views. Of course, any individual is free to decide who they do and do not engage with.

    The global BDS movement has consistently adopted a rights-based approach and an anti-racist platform that rejects all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

    These guidelines and the fact that BDS has been initiated and is led by Palestinian civil society are major reasons behind the rapid growth and success that the BDS movement has enjoyed around the world.


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