Ambassador turns Bradford Israeli

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 21, 2014
Daniel Taub displays his Israeli passport during his Bradford visit

Daniel Taub displays his Israeli passport during his Bradford visit

Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub has made a high-profile stand against George Galloway's call for Bradford to be an "Israeli-free zone".

Mr Taub visited the city this week to talk to councillors from the its three main political parties.

Mr Galloway, the Respect Party MP for Bradford West, responded on Twitter by accusing the councillors of welcoming a "mouthpiece for murder".

In a speech delivered to civic officials, Mr Taub said he had met leaders "who represent the real voice of Bradford; a voice of tolerance, of understanding, of building bridges, not breaking them.

"It's the voice of people who know there has only ever been one good boycott in Yorkshire, and that's Geoffrey Boycott."

Bradford council leader David Green said he had a "frank exchange" with Mr Taub over civilian deaths in Gaza, but a council spokesman said councillors "were also very clear that George Galloway MP does not speak on behalf of the district of Bradford.

"People who claim to speak for Bradford and make such ridiculous and damaging statements, obviously know very little about our city and district."

The Israeli embassy said Mr Taub was invited by Bradford Reform Synagogue, and met church leaders including the Dean of Bradford, although the city's Council of Mosques refused to meet him, citing deaths in Gaza as its reason.

Bradford Reform Synagogue's Rudi Leavor said: "Galloway's comments have been described as out of order by people of other faiths who we have good relations with in Bradford and who support our stance of welcoming the ambassador. Mr Galloway is sowing the seeds of disharmony but I'm pleased local people have come out vehemently against his outburst."

Mr Galloway was this week interviewed under caution by police investigating his comments about Bradford being "Israeli-free".

West Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Paul Money confirmed a 59-year-old man had voluntarily spoken to officers after complaints that the MP may have incited racial hatred.

He said the matter would be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service following inquiries.

Mr Galloway later said: "This is an absolute and despicable attempt to curb my freedom of speech by people who appear to be quite happy about the indiscriminate murder of Palestinians in Gaza. I won't be silenced, I will keep speaking out against horrendous injustice."

Last updated: 3:07pm, August 21 2014