The happenstance that George Galloway appears in the news the same week leading up to Purim is non-coincidental. Mr Galloway’s name for starters coincides with the events in Shushan so many years ago. The Gallows then, built by Haman, symbolised the desired destruction of the Jews. What do the Gallows of George Galloway represent?
For starters, not the destruction of his name. Galloway has previously been expelled from the Labour Party but that has not stopped his re-election into Parliament under the Respect Party. In 2009, at a Stop Gaza Massacre rally, Galloway labelled the Israeli’s as Nazis comparing the Holocaust to life in Gaza:
“today, the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw Ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943.”
Since then, he has still appeared on question time, still a member of Parliament for Bradford-West, and still preaching hatred. This week, he was invited to have a debate at Oxford university. As soon as he found out his opponent, Aslan-Levy was Israeli, he stormed out.
“You said we. Are you an Israeli?….I don’t debate with Israelis”
Surely he should have researched the panel before attending the event? And what does he think a debate is? A discussion with all the same views? This is simply ignorant on his behalf unless he came just to create a scene. What is apparent either way is that he is in control of his destiny and whatever his remarks he knows that the public, especially his constituency, will support him, as they have failed to hold him accountable in the past.
Mr ‘Gallow’ay also does not represent the destruction of the Respect Party. They have allowed him to be a member so clearly have a lack of concern towards Galloway’s comments. The Respect Party’s slogan is ‘Peace, Justice and Equality. It asks on its website for a “world in which the democratic demands of the people are carried out.” There was no democracy exercised at the debate on Mr Galloway’s behalf. Instead he refused to acknowledge the notion of free speech, a main democratic principle. Taking the word ‘Respect’ literally, George Galloway’s actions demonstrate that he has no respect for the wider public, so either the Party should change its name, or revoke him from the Party. Neither of which are likely to happen due to the Party disregarding Galloway’s intolerant remarks in the past.
“What do the Gallows of George Galloway represent?”
If unfortunately, the Gallows do not symbolise Mr Galloway’s immediate or foreseeable destruction, one thing which is similar to the Purim story is that it certainly does not foresee the destruction of the Israelis or Jews.
I mention the word Jews because I am fascinated to understand what Mr Galloway meant when asserting that he does not recognise Israel.
“I do not recognise Israel”
Does he not recognise it exists? Does he not recognise that it is a land for the Jews? Does he not recognise it is a safe-haven from the horrors of the Holocaust?
On Respect’s website, it legitimises Mr Galloway’s response arguing as follows:
“George Galloway’s decision to walk out of a recent debate at Oxford University as soon as he realized that the opposing speaker was an Israeli was both principled and correct. It has been deemed controversial only because of the willful and ongoing denial, prevalent within the British political, media, and cultural establishments, of the fact that Israel is an apartheid state.”
Excuse my ignorance but by calling Israel an apartheid state is still an act of recognition that Israel exists. No matter if one state is a failing state, a communist state, a liberal state or an authoritarian state, each state still exists if or if not it adheres to one’s ideological preferences.
Mr Galloway asks Aslan-Levy if he is an Israeli rather than Israeli. Through the use of the word ‘an,’ Galloway has managed to objectify and dehumanise Aslan-Levy, putting him into a category of ‘an Israeli’ forfeiting any other identity criteria which could apply. Instead of seeing Aslan-Levy as an academic, as a student, as English, as a person who desires peace, Mr Galloway just saw Aslan-Levy as an Israeli and that was all that mattered to him.
Thank G-d Mr Galloway is not a Palestinian part of the peace process. If that was the case there would never be peace. If one cannot recognise something, one will never peacefully live alongside it.
Although Mr Galloway will not be hanged on his own gallows, the message which transpires on this Purim eve, is that people like Galloway with negative and racist views should hang to dry far away from the Israel-Palestine peace process. In order to generate peace, tolerance and recognition from both sides is essential.