The Belfast city council is seeking legal advice about allowing the British politician who declared a district in northern England an "Israel-free zone" to speak at a publicly owned venue later this month, the BBC reported Wednesday.
Bradford West MP George Galloway of the far-left Respect Party is under investigation for an August 2 speech in which he said his West Yorkshire district doesn't want any Israeli goods, services, academics or even tourists.
Belfast city council member Brian Kingston has asked the local authority to cancel the "irresponsible" August 23 speaking engagement, the Bradford Telegraph & Argus said Wednesday. "He is rejecting and demonizing an entire country and its people, describing it as illegal, barbarous and savage."
Earlier this week, a group of British Jews and Israelis visited Bradford to show that they would not abide by a ban, Huffington Post U.K. reported Monday.
"We went mainly to make the gentle point that you can't make a city an Israel-free zone," said Shneur Odze, a former U.K. Independence Party candidate who lives in Manchester and has an Israeli passport.
"We didn't want it to be too provocative," said Odze, who took a group of about a dozen with him to the city on Sunday. "People suggested we plant an Israeli flag at his office, but we wouldn't do that."
Before taking the trip, Odze tweeted a photograph of himself holding up an Israeli passport and a T-shirt saying "We believe in Israel" and wrote: "Got my Israeli flag, passport and tee shirt, Bradford here we come! Sorry George Galloway ;-)."
Odze told the Huffington Post he was warmly received by many people, including pro-Palestinians.
"People came over and said that they disagree with me on Gaza, they hate the photos coming out of the war, but they didn't think Israelis should be banned from Bradford, that they were ashamed of what he had said," Odze said.
At a party meeting in Leeds on August 2, Galloway said: Last week, Galloway told party members in Leeds: “We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college."
"We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, if any of them had thought of doing so," he said. "We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”
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