An Oxford Student Courageously Challenges George Galloway
by Shmuley Boteach
George Galloway, Member of Parliament for Bradford West, is one of the leading Israel haters of our time. In November of last year he branded Zionism “a blasphemy againstJudaism and against God.” He then proceeded to praise the terrorists of Hamas and added, “We do not hate Jews. We hate Zionism, we hate Israel, we hate murder and injustice. Israel blasphemes against the Torah by calling itself a Jewish state.”
The most ferocious anti-Semites are those who use Judaism against the Jews and who claim to limit their anti-Semitism to a loathing of Israel. But Galloway took his abhorrence of Israel to new heights at an Oxford debate in February of this year when he stormed out of a debate simply because his opponent was Israeli. In several columns I noted that there was no official response to this disgusting act of racism and intimidation against Israeli students from the office of the Chief Rabbi.
Now comes a video of Oxford student Jonathan Hunter courageously speaking in Hebrew at an Oxford Union debate, declaring himself to be an Israeli, and walking out on Galloway.
In my experience most racists are cowards and indeed, Galloway, sitting comfortably in his chair at the Oxford Union, claims to feel threatened by a student giving an innocent speech and says, “Don’t come any closer, I’m feeling threatened by you. What’s that up your jumper?”
What threatened Galloway in the student’s sweater was an Israeli flag, which Mr. Hunter then draped around his shoulders and sported proudly as he walked out of the Union.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t hear about this incident until now as Mr. Hunter deserves global applause for his courageous confrontation against the man who obsequiously told mass murderer Saddam Hussein in 1994, “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.” Galloway would later say that the stomach-turning comment was in reality directed at the courage of the Iraqi people, a strange defense given that he was speaking to the man who killed more than a million Iraqis.
I have, in others columns, lamented not just the tsunami of anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred that has broken out in the UK over the past years but the halting response on the part of Anglo-Jewry. Jonathan Arkush, vice-President of the British Board of Deputies, disputed one of my recent columns and claimed that British Jews are passionately engaged in the fight. Yes, some are. But a great many are not. And the silent majority should learn from Mr. Hunter’s courageous action that standing up for Israel and fighting anti-Semitism is the job of every Jew and every non-Jew who wants the Middle East to have the democratic freedoms of Israel rather than the theocratic terror of Hamas.
It is especially incumbent upon students at British campuses to muster the courage of Mr. Hunter and never be intimidated by the likes of George Galloway whose rancid views prosper in an air of timidity. As Martin Luther King famously said, “It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, ‘Wait on time.'”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” served as Rabbi to the students of Oxford University from 1988-1999, when he won the London Times Preacher of the Year Competition days before the millennium. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.