George Galloway storms from Oxford debate with Israeli
Anne Barrowclough | Last updated at 1:09AM, February 21 2013For a video of the moment when the not-so-respectful Galloway picked himself and walked out of the discussion, click here.
George Galloway stormed out of an Oxford University debate last night after discovering that his opponent was Israeli. The Respect party MP, who is renowned for his staunchly pro-Palestinian stance, is reported to have declared: “I don’t debate with Israelis.”
Mr Galloway had spoken for ten minutes before giving away to Eylon Aslan-Levy, who was speaking against the motion “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank” in a debate at Christ Church College.
A few minutes into his speech, Mr Aslan-Levy, 21, referred to the actions of Israeli using the term “us,” causing Mr Galloway to ask if he was Israeli. “I have been misled,” he is reported to have said. “I don’t debate with Israelis, I have been misled. I don’t recognise Israel and I don’t debate with Israel.” He then stormed out of the room, followed by his wife.
According to those present, the MP was met with jeers from the audience. The third-year politics, philosophy and economics student concluded his speech and was met with a standing ovation.
Speaking after the event, Mr Aslan-Levy, 21, who grew up in London and has joint British-Israeli citizenship, described Mr Galloway’s remarks as “appalling.” He told The Times: “It’s deeply offensive to refuse to speak to someone because of their nationality. It’s pure racism. The fact that a sitting member of Parliament could do this is all the more astonishing.”
The MP for Bradford West was defiant last night on the social networking site Twitter. “I don’t debate with Israelis or speak to their media,” he wrote. “No recognition of Israel. No normalisation. Christ Church never informed us the debate would be with an Israeli. Simple.”
Michael Baldwin, the debate moderator, later expressed his disappointment at Mr Galloway’s action. “As moderator of this debate, I was disappointed that a possibly fruitful discussion was prematurely ended by Mr Galloway’s refusal to debate someone just because of their nationality. As he himself is a Palestinian citizen, he would rightly be indignant if an opponent of his were to refuse to debate him on the basis of his passport. I would encourage Mr Galloway to reconsider his position, which is open to accusations of xenophobia.” Mr Baldwin, 20, is studying politics, philosophy and economics at New College.
|This photograph [source] of 'activists' in Berlin, Nazi Germany expressing their respect to a business owned by a Jew, one of many such images from the 1930s, has no direct connection with the Respect Party's respected parliamentary member George Galloway who said: "Christ Church never informed us the debate would be with an Israeli. Simple."