It’s been exactly a year since an extremely fateful October evening which set me on a path I could have never imagined. The decisions you make sometimes seem mundane – but some choices we make have the potential to be life changing.
It took me 90 minutes to make a decision I will never regret. For 90 minutes, one of Britain’s last truly disturbing demagogues ranted about his ‘master plan’ to apparently transform Britain for good.
My blood boiled – yet the audience were gripped. I saw a modern-day Lord Haw-Haw while others saw a champion of the underdog.
I became more depressed and angry with the world – and as always, I felt seemingly powerless to do anything about it.
I was sitting in the front row of the Oxford Union with an Israeli flag hidden in my jumper. I planned to confront George Galloway, approach him in Hebrew, berate him for his despicable character, and mock him while waving a symbol of my national identity. I wanted him to freak out and learn an important lesson: There are people willing to publicly challenge your hatred.
For 90 minutes I debated whether I should proceed. ‘There’s no point,’ I thought for a while. ‘What good will it do?’ During the ‘Q & A,’ I kept on putting my hand down. ‘You’ll get so much public flack. People will think you’re crazy.’ My inclinations relentless battled with one another.
After the third question — and I still have no idea why — I resolved to take the microphone next. ‘You have one shot, and this man needs to be taken down a peg. You will regret not taking this stand.’ With that thought going through my head – the fear of regret – I caught the eye of the Union President. There was no going back.
Without thinking, I got up and did exactly what I rehearsed. I managed to extract those immortal words from the old boy, ‘Don’t come any closer to me…I’m feeling threatened!’
I had done it. The pro-Hamas firebrand had once more become a scared little kitten. His hands were trembling and his lips were quivering.
I turned his words against him: ‘I don’t debate with racists!’ On that note, I slammed the microphone right near his fingers, and looked into his eyes as he crawled into a ball. Those eyes were seething with fury. Even as he was terrified, he was still filled with hate. I’ve never seen such awful emotions project themselves in any human being.
Seeing his face, I knew I had done the right thing.
In the days that followed, I received letters and emails from all around the world. I was in the press. People recognised me in the supermarket. I was even offered a job by an international organisation.
Since then, I have met people I would never have otherwise met. I have made enduring friendships with so many brilliant people I would never have otherwise been so close to. I have travelled to places in the UK and beyond I would have never otherwise considered visiting.
This year has been one of the best of my life – and it nearly all boils down to one split second decision. If I hadn’t confronted Galloway, my experiences of the past 12 months would have been markedly less thrilling – life in general would not be as exciting.
So… to anyone who reads this, I have one message. Never stay silent in the face of bigotry. Never hesitate from standing up for what you believe in – and never live to regret what you could have done.
Sometimes, a split second transforms everything…
My original piece, ‘Why I confronted George Galloway,’ was kindly published here at Trending Central by Raheem Kassam. It explains my reasoning behind the confrontation, addressing Galloway’s long history of hypocrisy and ‘questionable decisions.’
The event itself provoked a lot of commentary. I was humbled when Professor Michael Curtis described me as a ‘modern-day profile in courage’ – and similarly honoured when Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote that I deserved ‘global applause.’
After confronting George Galloway, I secured the position of ‘Campus Director‘ with StandWithUs UK. I am indebted to the organisation for having allowed me to grow as an individual, to meet so many fantastic people, to travel around the UK and beyond – and to stand for the cause of Israel on a national basis. Particular appreciation – and immense admiration – go out to Michael Dickson, Irene Naftalin, Tanya Stern and Joy Wolfe MBE for taking a shot in the dark, and having faith in me to pursue what I have done during the last 12 months.
Below is the ‘infamous video’ of my confrontation. Before the original was taken down from YouTube, it had over 150,000 views.