DEFYING GAL­LOWAY

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JONATHAN KALMUS

GE­ORGE GAL­LOWAY is un­likely to face prose­cu­tion un­der racism laws af­ter he told a Leeds au­di­ence to ban vis­its by Is­raelis and mimic Brad­ford as an “Is­rael-free zone”.

The Re­spect MP, speak­ing at a party meet­ing in Leeds last week, said: “We don’t even want Is­raeli tourists to come to Brad­ford even if any of them had thoughtof do­ingso.Were­ject­thisil­le­gal, bar­barous, sav­age state that calls it­self Is­rael, and you have to do the same.”

West York­shire Po­lice says it is li­ais­ing with the Crown Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice over the com­ments, while dozens of com­plaints were made to po­lice ac­cord­ing to Is­raelis in Leeds. An on­line pe­ti­tion calling for Mr Gal­loway’s prose­cu­tion for a racially ag­gra­vated of­fence has gained nearly 14,000 sup­port­ers.

A CPS spokesper­son said: “We have pro­vided West York­shire Po­lice with early in­ves­tiga­tive ad­vice on this mat­ter and will con­tinue to do so as re­quested. We have not yet been asked for a charg­ing de­ci­sion.”

But UK Lawyers for Is­rael direc­tor, bar­ris­ter Jonathan Turner, said the “ob­nox­ious” views do not come near the level re­quired to suc­cess­fully pros­e­cute un­der the Pub­lic Order Act:

“The­p­ros­e­cu­tion­would­have­to­prove that ei­ther Gal­loway in­tended to stir up or in­sti­gate racial ha­tred or, ob­jec­tively in all the cir­cum­stances, sug­gest racial ha­tred would be stirred up.”

Lo­cal politi­cians rounded on Mr Gal­loway’s state­ment, in­clud­ing MP David Ward, who said although anti-Is­rael boy­cotts “should not be con­fined to Brad­ford” com­ments about ban­ning Is­raeli tourists were “danger­ous.”

In a sym­bolic act of de­fi­ance Is­raelis and pro-Is­rael sup­port­ers took self­ies in Brad­ford on Sun­day, which were spread widely on so­cial me­dia.

Daniel Su­gar­man, a 24-year old his­tory grad­u­ate from Lon­don, said he wanted to “make it per­fectly clear that it’s ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous for a dem­a­gogue like Ge­orge Gal­loway or any­one else to ex­clude one na­tion from a city in any demo­cratic place.”

Wav­ing an Is­raeli flag in Brad­ford’s city cen­tre, Rabbi Sh­neur Odze said he went to stand up for Bri­tish peo­ple who be­lieve in fair play and open­ness, adding: “Peo­ple in Brad­ford, even pro-Pales­tinian demon­stra­tors, told us they didn’t agree with Ge­orge Gal­loway and we are wel­come.”

A an ap­pear­ance by Mr Gal­loway at Belfast City Coun­cil’s Ul­ster Hall sched­uled later this month has sparked dis­quiet.

Stephen Jaffe, chair of North­ern Ire­land Friends of Is­rael, said: “There is gen­uine con­cern wider than just Is­raeli sup­port­ers. There is a di­verse g r o up o f peo­ple con­cerned about his visit.”

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