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UK’s Main Jewish Org Expresses Horror at George Galloway’s Return to Parliament

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Edited by: Fern Sidman

In a surprising turn of events, George Galloway, a controversial far-left populist, has returned to the British parliament, winning a resounding victory in the northern town of Rochdale. His election campaign focused heavily on the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization. As was reported in The Algemeiner, the UK’s main Jewish organization, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has expressed horror at Galloway’s return, condemning him as a demagogue and conspiracy theorist who fosters division and hate.

George Galloway ran on the ticket of the Workers Party of Britain, advocating a platform that combines protectionism, socialism, and a foreign policy hostile to the NATO alliance. Galloway’s victory was significant, with him polling 12,335 votes – 6,000 more than any other candidate, according to the information provided in TheAlgemeiner.com report.  Rochdale, where Muslims make up around 20 percent of the population, saw Galloway heavily targeting this community during the campaign.

The election took an unexpected turn as the campaign of the opposition Labour Party collapsed in disarray. The report in The Algemeiner indicated that the party withdrew support for its candidate, Azhar Ali, after he endorsed the conspiracy theory that Israel had prior knowledge of the October 7 Hamas pogrom, describing it as a “massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.”

During his victory speech, Galloway aimed a barb at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has been working to combat anti-Semitism within the party. As per the Algemeiner report, Galloway stated, “Keir Starmer – this is for Gaza. You have paid, and you will pay, a high price for the role you have played in enabling, encouraging, and covering for the catastrophe presently going on.”

George Galloway, 69, has a long history of being a polarizing figure in British politics. He is widely detested in the Jewish community for his visceral attacks on Zionism and his support for the elimination of Israel as a sovereign state.

A one-time ally of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Galloway’s history is characterized by his provocative remarks, expulsion from the Labour Party, and the founding of the far-left Respect coalition, the Algemeiner report said. He had also openly boasted of his friendships with key regime figures, including former foreign minister Tariq Aziz. His famous salute to Saddam during a visit to Baghdad, expressing admiration for the dictator’s courage and strength, became emblematic of his controversial associations.

In 2003, Galloway faced expulsion from the Labour Party for inflammatory remarks on the eve of the Iraq War. Undeterred, he went on to found Respect, a far-left coalition that prominently featured its campaign for “Palestine.”

 

Once labeled the “MP for Baghdad Central,” Galloway has developed a reputation for strategically choosing constituencies with large Muslim populations. According to the report in the Algemeiner, prior to Rochdale, he represented constituencies in Glasgow, east London, and Bradford, where he faced a police investigation in 2014 for declaring the area an “Israel-free zone.”

Critics on social media have accused Galloway of running a campaign in Rochdale along ethnic lines. In a letter to non-Muslim residents, he focused on traditional values, small businesses, local sports teams, and a tougher stance on crime, the Algemeiner report said. In contrast, his appeal to Muslim voters began with the Arabic greeting “A’Salaam o Aleikum,” emphasizing his advocacy for Muslims both domestically and internationally.

He positioned himself as a lifelong advocate for Muslims, both domestically and abroad, claiming to have paid a price for his commitment.

Galloway’s return to Westminster following the Rochdale result has prompted reactions ranging from depression to condemnation. Critics, including the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, highlighted previous clashes, such as Galloway’s dismissal of institutional anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and his description of Hamas atrocities as a “concentration camp breakout.”

In a letter addressed to non-Muslim residents, Galloway strategically avoided mentioning the Middle East, presenting himself as a traditionalist who values family, the Algemeiner reported.  He emphasized his unique stance on defining women, asserting that, unlike mainstream parties, he faces no difficulty in doing so. Galloway outlined priorities such as supporting small businesses, aiding the local soccer team’s financial stability, and advocating for a tougher stance on crime.

Following the Rochdale election result, a BBC reporter revealed receiving messages from MPs expressing depression at Galloway’s return to Westminster. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism took to X/Twitter to recall past clashes between Galloway and British Jews, as was noted in the Algemeiner report.

The distinct messaging to different communities raises questions about the role of identity in electoral strategies and the potential impact on social cohesion. As Galloway takes his seat in Westminster, the aftermath of this campaign is likely to continue sparking discussions on the intersection of identity, politics, and representation in the British political landscape.

 

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