“The reason is simple; No recognition, No normalisation. Just Boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the Apartheid state is defeated”
This is the explanation George Galloway MP gave for walking out of a debate after stating he doesn’t “debate with Israelis”.
Everyone from Harry’s Place through to the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has condemned Galloway’s overtly discriminatory views.
I find it extraordinary that someone who claims to working for peace in the region will refuse to talk to an entire nation of people.
By saying he won’t debate with Israelis, is he saying that he won’t debate with the millions of Palestinian Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship as well?
Or is he saying he won’t with Jewish Israelis?
His view makes no sense. The very suggestion that every Israeli citizen is tacitly involved in the Israelis state oppression of Palestinians is inaccurate and insulting.
It is insulting to the Israelis working at the human rights group B’Tselem. It is insulting to Israeli journalists like Gideon Levy who have devoted their lives to exposing the realities in the occupied territories. It is insulting to anyone who is trying to hold onto a vague sense of shared humanity in this conflict that seems so determined to strip people of this.
Both pragmatically and principally, Galloway’s stance is wrong.
Expect an apology…from George Galloway? No chance.
Galloway later turned to twitter to defend his stance:
William Hague, accused of "Naked Racism" by Tony Benn. Photo thanks to BBC.
It is very easy to paint the UK Conservatives as racists. Indeed, it has to be noted that they do rather lend themselves to it. A Guardian comments article today has a look back at Tory racism over the last year, highlighting case after case of Conservatives making terrible racist comments. I have blogged before about how the Tories sit with racist and homophobic partners in the European Parliament. Yet all of this needs some clarification. There is nothing inherently racist about voting (or at a push) being a member of the Conservative Party.
The Tories, top brass present themselves to be as clean as a whistle, commenting that racism is a thing of the past for the Tories. Sadly, as the above mentioned article suggests, this is not the case. There appears to be a correlation between those active in the party and a certain level or racism. This is obviously not absolute (I know some very open and accepting Tory officials) but it does appear to set a rule of thumb. Elected Tories often have an entrenched form of racism at the basis of their politics.
This has to be separated from the mass of Tory voters. I honestly believe that there are many Conservative voters who share similar feelings to me. I come from a long background of “blue”. Growing up in rural Gloucestershire in a middle-class family I have been exposed to all the highlights (and many lowlights) of a true blue up-bringing. I feel in many ways that I am a conservative at heart – I do not like things to change. I like drinking tea and going for walks. I find protests uncomfortable and noisy. When people advocate change you never know what’s going to happen. I like many traditional aspects of life and I want to irrationally hold on to them. Just because I like tea when served in fine china, it does not mean I am a racist. There is nothing inherent about liking the traditional aspects of life and being a racist. It follows however, that if you share these sentiments then you to have to consider whether a Tory vote really represents your values. Just because you like a quiet life, does that mean you can back a party dripping in racism?
Despite Cameron’s PR game trying to paint them as the cuddly party, there is still a nasty side to them that personally means I could never support them. Despite what Cameron peddles about racism, it has been shown his party is endemically racist. Despite what Cameron would say about opposing the death penalty, many of his MEP’s voted against the EU position on the death penalty at the latest Strasbourg session. Despite what Cameron would say about equality we can see that his party is dominated by the Eton élite who get upset if asked to sit in standard class on the train!
These guys do not represent the “levels of common decency” that are key to my moral make-up. These guys represent something that is alien to me, xenophobia, racism and a massive sense of homophobia. I am going to vote Green at the next election because they are there to preserve, to look after and care for many of the things that I care about (the countryside, my old age, the disadvantaged in society, the NHS, schooling etc). I cannot support the conservatives; yet let’s not start accusing every other conservative voter of being a racist; this simply is not the case.