I’ve put up several pieces this week from YouTube of George Galloway speaking. As I’ve said, I’m not a fan, but I do believe that he is right about many of the issues he discusses. And he’s absolutely right about the Iraq War. This is a clip of him talking to Nicky Campbell on the Radio about Ken Livingstone, Naz Shah and the anti-Semitism allegations.
In answer to Campbell’s question, Galloway explains the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Anti-Semitism, as he explains, is something of a misnomer, as the Palestinians are also Semites. It is hatred of the Jews as Jews. He points out that it has a long history, going back to the Middle Ages, and has resulted in pogroms, persecution and the Holocaust, which he declares to be the most terrible crime against humanity. Anti-Zionism is simply opposition to the state of Israel.
He answers a question from a Jewish caller from Liverpool, who states that as a Zionist, he has no problem criticising Israel for its crimes, but wonders why Galloway doesn’t criticise the Palestinians, such as Hamas, for the terrorism they commit. Galloway states that he is not just opposed to the state of Israel, but also to all the artificial countries created exactly 100 years ago in the Middle East by the Picot-Sykes agreement. He also makes the point that no system has a right to exist. Communism did not have a right to exist. To oppose Communism did not mean that you hated Russians. Rather, the anti-Communists stated that they wanted to liberate Russians.
He states that everything Ken Livingstone said about the Nazis and the Zionists was correct. There was an agreement between Hitler and the Zionist leaders to have Jews shipped to the emerging state of Israel. This was the Haavara agreement. This was because both the Zionists and Nazis believed that Jews were not Europeans: German Jews were not Germans, French Jews not French, and so on. It was ridiculous that Ken Livingstone should have been suspended for speaking the truth.
When asked about Naz Shah and her comments, he says that it was foolish, but it was a stupid, teenage joke she posted on Facebook months before she became an MP. On the other hand, the 800,000 people ‘displaced’ she mentioned, did not only occur on Facebook. They were real people, forced out of their homes.
Campbell asks about Ken Livingstone’s apparent obsession with the Second World War, the Jews, the Nazis and the Holocaust. Galloway states that he’s also been accused of anti-Semitism, and suspended from the Labour party, although that was under a different leader. He says Livingstone’s older than him, and he would not have mentioned the Nazis. But it’s because the Second World War and its legacy was a larger issue to people of Livingstone’s generation than his.
Galloway here is right, though I don’t think he convincingly answered the Liverpudlian caller’s question about his refusal to condemn Palestinian terrorism. As for Livingstone’s apparent obsession with the Nazis, I think this is part of the background of veteran Socialist of a certain age. Red Ken was head of the GLC in the 1980s, when racism was just becoming a real issue and many of the accepted attitudes towards race were being challenged. It was also a period when the National Front was active and very much carrying out attacks on non-Whites, Jews and Leftists. It was also a period dominated by the Second World War. Many of the films in the ’70s were war films, there were a number of comics and comic strips set in the Second World War, such as Battle, ‘Hellmann of Hammerforce’ in Action, Warlord and so on. It was also in the ’80s that the groundbreaking documentary, The World at War, was broadcast. For the anti-racist Left, the threat of Fascism was very real, and the Holocaust was the most horrific case of genocide, a terrible example of the horrific carnage racism can lead to.
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