British MP storms out of debate with Israeli student
George Galloway caused a minor uproar at Oxford University when he abruptly left a debate after realizing his opponent was Israeli. The debate discussed an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Galloway argued that Israel should pull out immediately, while Eylon Aslan-Levy claimed that a withdrawal should take place only as part of a negotiated peace agreement in which two states will be recognized. Aslan-Levy, a third-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics major, used the term “we” to describe Israel’s stance. Galloway interrupted:You said ‘we,’ are you Israeli?The student answered affirmatively. Galloway said:I have been misled. I don’t debate with Israelis.He got up hurriedly, got his coat, and stormed out. Upon leaving he reiterated:I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.Galloway’s departure shocked those present, several in the crowd calling “racism” after he left. Aslan-Levy was quoted in the Oxford student paper Cherwell as saying:I am appalled that an MP would storm out of a debate with me for no reason other than my heritage. To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament.Galloway explained his behavior on his Facebook page:I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the Apartheid state of Israel. The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation, just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the Apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine, the address is the PLO.