On Saturday 2 August 2014 George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, attended a political party meeting of the far-left in Leeds, Yorkshire. With the Palestinian flag draped behind him, he proclaimed:
“We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”
(With respect, having visited Bradford frequently, I think it hardly unlikely that any Israeli tourist would wish to add it to the list of places in the UK worth visiting!)
It is that same maverick George Galloway who visited Iraq in 1994 and delivered a speech to Saddam Hussein, which concluded with the words: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”
According to a 2011 census, Bradford’s population is close to 30% Asian or Asian British. It has the third highest percentage of South Asians of any city in England and Wales. Given the number of Muslims living there, Mr. Galloway’s remarks about Israel will no doubt have been well received by many of his constituents. However, he has a problem.
It is reported that Israeli water treatment company “Mapal” has provided its technological solutions to Anglian Water, supplying around 6 million homes, and Thames Water supplying around 14 million customers in the London area. What is Mr. Galloway going to drink when he is at Westminster representing Bradford West?!
However, that is not the point. As Europe’s Muslim population continues to grow, politicians will increasingly be challenged to define their position on the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Defending Israel is not going to be popular and that will impact, as it already has, upon Europe’s relationship with the Jewish State.
Returning to Mr. Galloway; if he were not the biased, bigoted person that he is, he would surely sit down with Israelis and hear their views on the Middle East conflict. However, that is not about to happen. Already back in October last year he walked out of an Oxford University debate declaring: “I don’t debate with Israelis.”