George Galloway has said Hamas are not tyrants and defended elections in Iran during a lecture about the fall of dictatorships.
Speaking to LSE students on Monday, the former Respect MP called Israel an “apartheid” state and compared scenes in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead to those in the Second World War.
Mr Galloway addressed students about the Winds of Change for a Zionist State – a new Palestinian Intifada.
He described Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2009 as a “savage assault on a captive people so ferocious that not since the Second World War are we seen anything like it.
“Not since the Second World War have a people been literally locked up in order to be assailed. Israel locked all the gates so people had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide before raining down death and destruction upon them.
“The insult added to the injury sustained to the Palestinian people is that they, the victims of terrorism are called the terrorists and the people responsible for terrorism are called the victims.”
He criticised Britain for “propping up every corrupt king and every tyrant, every dictator for as long as that dictator agrees to open his country, his economy, to our corporations”.
He praised the Palestinian elections in 2006 which saw Hamas elected as the “only free and fair election” in the Arab world.
“Hamas won the only democratic election ever held in the Arab world so how they can be tyrants I really don’t know,” he said. “I am not in favour of Hamas but I am in favour of democracy.
“There are many things wrong with Iran. One thing they do have is elections. They elected a president that you or I might not have voted for but I am in no doubt that Ahmadinejad won the presidential election. He won it because he appeals to the poorest workers, peasants, the most religious sectors of the Iranian population.”
He denied giving money to Hamas despite video footage showing him handing bags of cash to leaders.
He was questioned about video footage during a Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza in 2009 where he is seen saying: “We carried a lot of cash here. We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all the contents. We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics. The government of Palestine is the best people where this money is needed.”
But on Monday he said: “I did not give bags of cash to Hamas. I gave money, ambulances, wheelchairs, medicine, food, children’s clothes, teddy bears to the 1.6million Palestinian people under siege in Gaza.”
He also defended his presenting job at Iranian-backed Press TV and said: “Because I don’t believe that the government of Iran is a dictatorship I have no problem about working for Press TV in London which is a British owned television station.
“I’m not responsible for the government of Ahmedinijad. I’m not responsible for the leadership of Press TV.”