(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) British MP George Galloway has been accused of anti-Semitism for storming out of a debate at Oxford University on Wednesday evening after learning that his opponent was an Israeli citizen.
Galloway, the Respect Party MP for Bradford West and a virulent opponent of Israel and supporter of Hamas, left the debate at Oxford’s Christ Church College upon finding out that his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year philosophy, politics and economics student at Brasenose College, was an Israeli citizen. Aslan-Levy later accused Galloway of “pure racism.”
During the debate, Galloway spoke for 10 minutes in favor of the motion “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank.” According to reports in two Oxford student news websites, The Oxford Student Online and Cherwell, less than three minutes into Aslan-Levy’s speech against the motion, Galloway was made aware that his opponent was an Israeli citizen.
Galloway then interrupted Aslan-Levy’s speech, saying, “I have been misled. I don’t debate with Israelis.” He then left the room with his wife, Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, and was escorted out of the college by a college porter. Asked to explain why Aslan-Levy’s nationality prompted him to abandon the debate, Galloway said, “I don’t recognize Israeli citizens.”
The debate organizers said that they had not misled Galloway because at no time had the nationalities of either of the debaters been raised.
After the debate, Aslan-Levy said, “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.”
Galloway has been consistently outspoken in his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in 2009 received a Palestinian passport from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU.