Boycotting Israel Galloway-style

British MP George Galloway.

By Stuart Littlewood

A big fuss blew up last week when British MP George Galloway, invited to Oxford University to debate the motion “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank”, walked out of the chamber when he heard that the student opposing the motion was an Israeli.

At Oxford, something Eylon Aslan-Levy said prompted Galloway to ask, “Are you an Israeli?”

“Yes,” came the reply.

“I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry,” said Galloway putting on his coat. “I don’t recognise Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis,” he added and left.

The following message then appeared on Galloway’s Facebook: “The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalization. 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.”

The PLO, of course, is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Galloway’s point was that BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), in his terms, means “no purchase of Israeli goods or services, no normal contacts with individuals or organizations in Israel who support the existence of the racist Apartheid creed of Zionism. That’s what I mean by boycott. That’s what I do. Israelis who are outside of and against the system of Zionism are comrades of mine…   My opponent at Oxford University did not meet this test.”

Aslan-Levy is reported to have told The Guardian that Israel’s withdrawal should not be immediate but “in the context of a negotiated peace treaty, which would recognize both Israeli and Palestinian states”. According to the Daily Mail he also said: ‘”To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a Member of Parliament.”

A lot of people have criticized Galloway for his behavior in this matter. However, anyone arguing against an immediate end to the brutal and illegal 65 year-old occupation and offering silly excuses for prolonging the misery – like more lopsided ‘negotiations’ when international law and UN resolutions have already spoken – deserves to feel the cold blast of boycott, Galloway-style.

The attacks on Galloway seem to come mainly from people in the BDS movement itself who are supposedly on the same side.  Press reports mention cries of “racism”. But notice that Galloway said he doesn’t debate with Israelis, not Jews. Others may not wish to debate with North Koreans or Afghan tribesmen. Our own foreign secretary apparently has no intention of chatting with his Iranian opposite number while turning the sanctions screw on the Iranian people. Obama when he visits the Holy Land to pay homage to Netanyahu won’t drop in on Haniyeh in Gaza to discuss football.

And it is pretty rich for a national of a racist state to call anyone else a racist.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which claims to set the guidelines for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, says it does not call for a boycott of individuals because she or he happens to be Israeli or because they express certain views, but adds: “Of course, any individual is free to decide who they do and do not engage with.”

OK, so why is Galloway getting flak?

– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

16 Comments

  1. Galloway is kind of correct – “no recognition = no contact” I respect that viewpoint.
    BUT there is a problem with so black/white a view.
    For instance, not all WW2 German soldiers deserved to be shot as Nazis, or even enemies; not all Americans are gun lovers or Iran haters, or pro Israeli. We must allow for difference if liberality and understanding are to survive. We must, all as brothers (and sisters), respect difference within the larger human picture: we must all get together to effectively solve the climate issue, for instance, or to share respect for international law or to help find a solution to Palestine’s situation.

    It seems extreme to brand an individual with preconceived (often biased) attitudes like his country’s politicians spout. It is Galloway’s ‘fixing’ colleagues and the University which must be blamed, not the poor chap from Israel. Tell him your opinions and send him home. That’s a more effective policy, isn’t it? (“effective” in the sense of making change rather than headlines).

  2. Eylon Aslan-Levy is an Israeli Jew. This is repulsive to both Judaism and to humanity. Those who deny this are less than human by choice.
    Smack him Galloway, smack him and his kind!
    Trash is a perennial problem for any human society and both physical and mental trash causes the collapse of cultures that do not deal firmly with it.
    Galloway sees clearly that We need to eradicate the veneer of humanity under which the ‘Israeli’ conceit continues to kill and maim and plunder. If we do not we are guilty of what they do and have now long done.
    Please list your names if you disagree.

  3. The most interesting thing about Mr Galloway ‘Getting the Flak’ is that it also comes from Palestinian supporters!

    Some people do not approve of the methods George Galloway chooses to protest.

    It is alright to take issue with his methods, however publishing this disapproval in the Western media just distracts from the main thrust of the work against the Israeli occupation!

    In comparison with the methods of the Israeli Government, and their occupation forces, AIPAC and other Zionist propagandists-We do not have to make excuses for anyone on the Palestinian side!

    It is like a ‘Home Goal’ against the Palestine Struggle!

  4. Galloway refused to debate with an Israeli who supports never-ending “negotiations”. So what? This farce has been going on for decades. As someone said, you don’t put an elephant and a mouse in a room and tell them to negotiate.

  5. I think that Galloway’s childish hatred probably helped this result. Thank you – he’s a real asset to lovers of Zion and Jerusalem:
    A controversial motion calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions, goods and produce at Oxford University was unequivocally defeated by students on Wednesday.
    Students at the prestigious university voted against the motion at Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU), with 69 votes against, 10 for and 15 abstentions. A margin of seven to one.

  6. Galloway said: “Israelis who are outside of and against the system of Zionism are comrades of mine…” He does not refuse to talk to Israelis, but only to those who do not meet this criteria. This is, evidently, not racism but a political strategy. In my opinion, this strategy has its merits, although I would not include in this refusal Israelis from the “inside” who are anti-Zionist and fight for a just peace.

    There was a time after WWII when Jews refused to talk to Germans. This refusal was not based on racism, but on the perception that the German people, in its majority, upheld the Nazi system, or at least did not object to it, including to the persecution of Jews.

  7. So much hatred. So many rigid beliefs.
    So, do we turn away from the enemy? Do we refuse to talk? When have guns ever been better than words? For what are our options?
    BARBARIANS, the lot of you!
    So, the Israelis are cheats, liars, hypocrits, land greedy, hold International Law in contempt and the Jews run an international conspiracy, and little Israel shelters behind giant’s cloaks (ie US& UK) as shop-lifter. cheat, liar.
    Can no one understand the terrible history created by Hertzl and Balfour which has become the status quo. AND we are left to try to clean up the mess in the M.E. The Palestinians MUST forgive each other and agree. And we MUST support them as honorably as we can, NOT like our or the US governments, we must be ruled by a universal vision that all peoples deserve peace, security, hope and the laughter of children.
    Mankind is so like a forest of a variety of trees, dependent on each other, supportive of foreigners (monkeys, eagles, humans . . .). War and contempt are not an answer to anything. Ever! Surely some of you know that’s true?

  8. Thank you for your continued support for Palestinian rights and their quest for dignity and freedom.

    A young person by the name of Eylon Aslan-Levy said that following. “…Then there’s the notorious Orwellian “Two Minutes Hate” against Israel we hear so much about, but I’ll wait to see this keffiyeh-clad elephant in the room for myself first.”

    The reference to the keffiyeh was surprising, as the keffiyeh is strongly associated with the Palestine people’s identity.

    http://www.thejc.com/campus/fresher-focus/39100/yes-mum-i%25E2%2580%2599ll-stay-touch

  9. The walk influenced the vote. I would rather have had him deconstruct the israeli myth machine. It would have reached more people 🙁

  10. I would also like to say how happy I am to see a captcha that doesnt disadvantage those with sight impairment.

  11. It is time that we stop supporting the U. S. war machine. Cutting military aid to Israel
    might force Israel to begin negotiating with the Palestinians. There are 21,000 Americans who are millionaires off of our military industrial complex,as of 2006. They do not want to give up their power and profit making. Where is our morality when it comes to creating justice? I support divestment, boycott and sanctions, so we can cripple military Zionism in Israel and in America.

  12. Immediate pull of the Israeli occupation forces from the west bank and submitting all the settlements to the Palestinian authority is must for any peace talks .
    Mr.Galloway is correct and he is one of the most honored politician on earth .

  13. Maybe Mr. Galloway has not forgotten the terrorism and murder done by Israel to the British during the Mandate. Israel is founded on terrorism. Its leaders are all foreigners from Poland and Russia who changed their names to sound native. Look up the members (and their real names) of Lehi and Irgun. Of course the Israelis will spin it to say it was justified for their cause. If terrorism is justified, Israel cannot talk about terrorism by others. It is Mr. Galloway’s turn to say Never Forget!

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