I wasn’t intending to write about George. However, after reading an article about him in the Guardian last week, I felt that a response was in place. George Galloway, the Member of Parliament for Bradford West, lost his seat in last week’s elections. He represented the Respect Party, whose slogan is “Peace, Justice, and Equality.”
George, a little upset at losing his seat, has begun legal proceedings to overturn the result. After all, he lost to the Labour candidate, Naz Shah, by only 11,000 votes (out of a total of 40,000 votes cast). At the end of the Guardian article, George was quoted: “I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration, of course. But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists, and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave.”
What better company could we Zionists be in? If I were a hyena, though, I would definitely be concerned; the comment borders on “animalphobia,” a serious charge these days. Well, in or out of your grave, George, we won’t begrudge you a little celebration, either.
One thing to celebrate is your reputation for hospitality. Bradford, renowned for its Islamic architecture, fountain pens, and navigational tools, is now one of the highlights on anybody’s tour of England. Anybody, that is, except Israelis (read Jews). Last summer, George officially declared Bradford an “Israeli-free zone.” If you don’t believe it, ask Ben Judah, a (Jewish) journalist working for the magazine, Politico. Judah went to Bradford to cover a Respect rally before the elections, but he left prematurely when he was “respectfully” told, “Get out, you f—–g Jew!” Judah described the rest of the scene: “I am being throttled as around ten Asian men surround me. My teeth chatter as a man in a tracksuit punches me in the head.”
And, of course, your enthusiasm for humanism is always a cause for celebration. I listened to the speech you gave on July 23, 2014 at a Respect Party meeting in Bolivar Hall, London. Listening to your presentation on “The Crisis in Palestine,” it was reassuring to hear that you have nothing against Jews, that Israelis are not Nazis and no Holocaust took place in Gaza; yet one breath later I heard that “Israelis behave like Nazis” and “Gaza is the Warsaw Ghetto.”
While we’re celebrating George and his dedication to respect, peace, justice and equality, we should remember that he represented himself as a reasonable man– always interested in the facts. Commendable, indeed, George. Odd, though, how you managed to get “the facts” to justify Gazan rocket attacks into the heart of civilian Israel, or Gazan use of its own citizens as human shields, or the relentless attempt by Palestinians to dismantle the State of Israel. It seems that, in your book of facts, these are all basic rights of Palestinians to defend themselves against “Israeli Nazi aggression.”
Stephenson Bond in his book, Living Myth, questioned whether meaning can survive in our age. I understand that question a little better now; certainly the chances of it surviving in Bradford are pretty small. Why? It is because meaning connects different elements of a picture, enabling one to reach a deeper level of truth.
In the Respect Party, however, elements do not come together to reach a deeper truth. They come together to hide a deeper lie. What is on the inside is rotten; what is on the outside is only an image of peace, justice, and equality; as Ben Judah discovered.
When Judah wasn’t being beaten up, he managed to interview some of the local inhabitants, one of them a white electrician. “We’ve been colonized,” the man said. Or, the way Judah describes it: illiberal minorities are imposing their politics on everyone else.
George, you were a champion of those politics. You made it to Westminster and played your part in what Melanie Phillips calls the “unraveling of British culture,” subverting the values of Western society from within.