U.K. MP Galloway Probed for Declaring Bradford an 'Israel-free Zone'

Lawmaker says the city should reject all goods, services, academics and even tourists from the 'illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel.'

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British Parliament Member George Galloway is under investigation for declaring Bradford "an Israel-free zone."

The BBC cited West Yorkshire police officers as saying that two complaints have been lodged about a speech Galloway made on August 2 urging the city to reject all Israeli goods, services, academics and even tourists.

“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," Galloway said at a meeting of the far-left Respect Party in Leeds.

“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, if any of them had thought of doing so.

“We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”

According to the BBC, a spokesman for Galloway, Ron McKay, said the Bradford West MP stood by his remarks.

"George stands by the comments," McKay was quoted as saying. "He thinks they are quite reasonable.

"The reason he made them is because there's mass carnage and mass slaughter going on against the people of Gaza," he continued. "Direct action helped in the struggle against apartheid."

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, a former political director of the Conservative Friends of Israel, has dismissed Galloway's remarks as an "ill-considered rant that will cause great offence to many."

David Ward, Lib Dem MP for neighboring Bradford East, meanwhile, said that any boycott of Israel should extend beyond the city into a nationwide movement.

"Why restrict it to a particular town? If you are going to do boycotts, divestments and sanctions simply for a particular city or part of the country, how is that going to do any good?

"What's the point of that? It has to be a national movement," Ward was quoted saying by the BBC.

Galloway, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, in 2009 said "the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw Ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943." 

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) meets British politician George Galloway in Gaza in 2009.Credit: Reuters