Galloway's boycott a 'bully' act


The British-Israeli student boycotted by Respect MP George Galloway during an Oxford University debate says he was the victim of "an act of bullying".

Mr Galloway walked out of a debate with Eylon Aslan-Levy last Wednesday after discovering the student had joint citizenship.

The Bradford West MP shocked audience members by telling the student: "I don't debate with Israelis. I've been misled, sorry. I don't recognise Israel and I don't debate with Israel."

Mr Aslan-Levy had been due to debate with Mr Galloway on whether Israel should withdraw from the West Bank.

Mr Aslan-Levy, a third year politics, philosophy and economics student, said: "Mr Galloway had a sterling opportunity to make a fool of me by destroying my arguments. Instead he made a fool of himself. He refused to share a platform with me for no reason other than my nationality: not because of anything I had done or said, but because of the passport I hold. One of the grounds for discrimination, as defined in the Race Relations Act, is nationality. Mr Galloway has revealed his true colours."

Mr Galloway was apparently unaware that he had previously debated with Mr Aslan-Levy - the pair were involved in an event at University College School in Hampstead, north London, in 2007.

Mahmood Naji, the Iraqi Muslim student who organised last week's debate and had invited Mr Galloway, said he had been "looking forward to seeing [Mr Galloway] put forward the case for Palestine and the Palestinian people", but now urged the MP to "think hard about the absurdity of your position".

Mr Galloway did not respond to requests to comment on the incident, but said on Twitter: "Israel: simple, no recognition. No normalisation. Just boycott, divestment, sanctions. Like Apartheid SA. No Apartheid in Israel-Palestine."

● Oxford University Student Union's council has voted against implementing a boycott of Israeli goods and against calling on the National Union of Students to do the same.

Middlesex University Student Union has voted to introduce a "no platform" policy banning hate speakers. UJS said the policy would put an end to events which were hostile to Jewish students.

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