Earlier this week, George Galloway, a Member of the British Parliament, stormed out of a debate at Oxford University. What was the cause for his premature departure? Mr. Galloway discovered that his opponent, a student named Eylon Aslan-Levy, was Israeli. This was revealed when the young man began to speak and Galloway rudely interrupted him to ask about his accent and heritage. Galloway immediately stood and made to leave stating “I have been misled. I don’t debate with Israeli’s.” After a member of the audience called out “Racism!” Galloway stopped in the doorway and declared, “I don’t recognize Israel, and I don’t debate with Israeli’s.”
After watching the video of the event, I was speechless. How is it that a highly educated politician, journalist and educator could harbor such senseless hate towards Israel to a degree that he won’t even participate in a debate with an Israeli citizen? This most childish reaction by Galloway demonstrates how Anti- Semitism has resurfaced in the form of rabid anti- Zionism. It is rampant throughout the world and Israel is constantly fighting a seemingly hopeless battle to defend itself against ignorant, baseless, and irrational hatred.
Author Chuck Palahniuk wrote, ““There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself.” While the world as a whole may have advanced on a technological and educational level, when it comes to the worldview of the Jews nothing has shifted in the last 2000 years. The scenery has changed and the actors have been replaced; the methods are different, but the script remains the same.
This abhorrent incident could not have come at a more timely point in the Jewish calendar. With the holiday of Purim fast approaching, let’s take a trip back in time to 5th century Persia. Replace Galloway with Haman. The debate reverts to a moment outside the palace of King Achashverosh where Mordechai the Jew refuses to bow to Haman because he wore an idol around his neck. This drives Haman into a rage. How dare the puny Jew disrespect him and refuse his orders!
Haman’s answer to his bruised ego was to plot against an entire nation of Jews to avenge his honor. Galloway’s boycott of Israel is not that different. Israel does not comply with his views and he has taken it to a personal, petty level. How different is this really from the many neighboring states that claim to be our friends? Foreign nations are constantly interfering in our internal struggles, threating us with the removal of aid if we don’t comply with their demands.
Hamas has declared that it will not rest until it sees the destruction of the state of Israel. Iran is speeding toward a nuclear weapon to use against Israel. Our enemies are all around us, waiting for our complete demise. What our allies refuse to recognize is that if Hamas and Iran ever made good on their promise, there is little doubt that their next targets would be the very countries telling Israel to hold their fire. The world needs to stop taking Israel’s actions personally. Acting in this childish manner is only hindering our shared agenda of bringing peace to the Middle East.