Galloway wimps out of debate with Israeli student after being 'misled' over opponent's nationality
George Galloway stormed out of a debate against an Israeli student yesterday, claiming he does not recognise Israel, nor does he debate Israelis
George Galloway, the Member of Parliament for Bradford West, has been accused by Oxford students of anti-semitism after storming out of a debate, refusing to share a platform with an Israeli.
But students would perhaps be better placed to show that Galloway was unable, rather than unwilling to have the debate, and was avoiding challenge on the issues due to a fear of being shown up, rather than any racial prejudices.
Mr Galloway “stormed out” of a debate at Christ Church on Wednesday evening, upon finding out that his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year student at Brasenose, was an Israeli citizen.
Mr Galloway had spoken for ten minutes in favour of the motion 'Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank', before giving way to Aslan-Levy.
The Cherwell newspaper reports that less than three minutes into Aslan-Levy’s speech against the motion, Galloway interuppted, asking, "Is he an Israeli? Are you an Israeli?
Mr Galloway then commented, interrupting Aslan-Levy’s speech. “I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry.” He then left the room with his wife, Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, and was escorted out of Christ Church by a college porter. When prompted to explain why Aslan-Levy’s nationality prompted him to abandon the debate, Galloway stated that “I don't recognise Israel.”
Students can be heard gasping, clapping, though clearly in a state of shock as some ask, "Racism?" The video can be viewed below:
In a statement late on Wednesday evening Galloway explained that "I refused this evening 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." Mr Galloway is a leading political proponent of the campaign to ‘boycott’ Israeli goods, services and – it emerged tonight – people.
After the debate Aslan-Levy said that "I am appalled that an MP would storm out of a debate with me for no reason other than my heritage.
"To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament."
Mahmood Naji, the organiser of the debate, told Cherwell that he "condemned Mr Galloway's walkout, on the basis of his opponent's nationality."
He went on to deny that he had "misled" the MP. "At no point during my email exchange with Mr Galloway's secretary was Eylon's nationality ever brought up or mentioned." He added, "nor do I expect to have to tell the speaker what his opponent's nationality is."
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