George Galloway faced a tough grilling from a BBC audience over the issues of Israel and antisemitism. Photo: screenshot
George Galloway, the British parliamentarian infamous for his unflinching support of terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, was the recipient of a feisty response from Jewish members of the audience during a BBC panel discussion on rising antisemitism in the UK.
Galloway was appearing on “Question Time,” a show which invites politicians and opinion-formers to discuss current affairs before a studio audience. This week’s edition was broadcast from Finchley, a north London neighborhood with a large Jewish population.
Gabriel Rosen, a Jewish audience member, received boisterous cheers when he asked, “Why is antisemitism rising in the UK, and do you think a certain member of the panel may bear some responsibility for this?”
Galloway’s remarks were preceded by those of Jonathan Freedland, a Jewish columnist and the executive editor of The Guardian newspaper. Freedland pointed out that Jewish fears of antisemitism had increased, as evidenced by a Community Security Trust report which pointed out that there were more antisemitic incidents in 2014 than at any other time since the organization began maintaining records in 1984. While he didn’t explicitly accuse Galloway of antisemitism, Freedland pointed out that the parliamentarian had traded in antisemitic conspiracy theories, for example by accusing Israel of being behind the conflict in Ukraine.
Galloway was unrepentant nevertheless. After chiding the program’s host for not selecting a “balanced” audience – another way of saying there were too many Jews who disagreed with him present – Galloway launched into a fierce condemnation of Israel. As he accused Israel of carrying out “mass murder” during the summer 2014 war in Gaza, audience members heckled and booed. One member interjected that Galloway had branded the city of Bradford, which he represents in parliament, “an Israel-free zone.”
“In doing that, you directed your comments to the British Jewish community,” she declared. “You put the British Jewish community on the front line at a very volatile time.”
Eventually, Galloway did condemn antisemitism, adding that he would have readily fought against fascism – which he described as a “European, Christian” phenomenon, ignoring its Islamist and Arab nationalist mutations – had he been alive. At the same time, Galloway lambasted the fact that “not a single Jewish community” spokesman or newspaper condemned the violent assault against him in west London last August; as protests again erupted from the audience, he wondered aloud, “am I on trial?”
Watch audience members challenging George Galloway on Question Time:
Source:: The Algemeiner