Galloway tells student 'I won't debate with Israelis' - video

Feb 21, 2013

MP accused of 'racism' after storming out of Oxford debate; he says he is boycotting Israel

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GEORGE GALLOWAY, the MP for Bradford West, has been accused of racism after walking out of a debate at Oxford University when he realised his opponent was Israeli. 

The Respect MP interrupted PPE student Eylon Aslan-Levy at Christ Church yesterday evening during a debate over whether Israel should withdraw from the West Bank, according to the student paper, Cherwell.

In a video posted by Cherwell, Galloway, a long-term critic of Israeli policy, is seen asking why Aslan-Levy uses the word “we" when talking about Israel. When the student says it is because he is from the country, Galloway gets up to leave saying: “I have been misled".

With his hand on the door, Galloway says: "I don't recognise Israel and I don't debate with Israelis" before exiting the debate with wife Putri Gayatri Pertiwi in tow.

Aslan-Levy told Cherwell he believed Galloway's actions were racist, saying: "To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a Member of Parliament".

Galloway said he was boycotting Israel and would not debate with the country's citizens: "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", he told Cherwell.

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Fair enough, we have free speech in this country (I think), and he is entitled to his opinion.

Yep, and this is the first time I have heard that Israelis are a race!

Shocking. How can you expect to make steps and contribute towards a peaceful resolution when you won't talk to one of the sides? How can you even have a valid opinion if you won't consider arguments from both sides?

What if he had said he doesn't recognise palestine and won't debate with palestinians? it would be an outcry.

Truly outrageous, pathetic and counterproductive.

Yep, it's still a free country, and GG can walk out if he likes. I watched the video and I can confirm that he didn't 'storm' he walked. Biased reporting or what?

If he says he was misled then fair enough.

But how was he misled? Well, we don't know, so I can only speculate that he thought he was having a debate about an issue, and that he had been led to believe that there was to be no official representative of Israel present, and what he was unhappy about was discovering that a speaker was acting as a rep for Israel, or was acting as if he was such a rep.

Isn’t that misleading?

Now if the other guy had said 'I think Israel needs to' rather than 'we need to' , he could have promoted his views, GG would have stayed, the audience would have had a better debate and something might have been learned.

So let me be clear, a person did something wrong. That person, in this case, suprisingly, was not GG. I'm no fan of GG - but the other guy was being bogus, he was hiding his real purpose, so GG complained and walked.

Now, just so you know I'm not anti-Israeli, or a racist (and what GG did wasn't racist, IMHO) if a PLO or Hamas supporter had done the same thing and said 'we' rather than 'they', then the same applies.

This isn’t a racism issue, this is a misleadingness issue.

Can we all get a grip, storm in a tea cup, haven’t these reporters got real news to cover?

As a matter of interest, how can he both "not recognise Israel" and recognise Israel enough to not share a debate with someone from Israel?