'I Don't Debate With Israelis': George Galloway Accused of Racism after Storming out of Oxford University Debate
By Toyin Owoseje | February 23, 2013 1:11 AM EST
George Galloway has been accused of racism after refusing to debate with an Israeli student at Oxford University.
The controversial politician left the assembled audience shocked when he stormed out the meeting after discovering that his opponent was an Israeli national.
The left-wing Bradford West MP had been booked to appear in the debate at Christ Church college and had spoken in favour of the motion that 'Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank'.
But when opponent Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year philosophy, politics and economics student at Brasenose College, got up to voice his opposing view to the speech, Mr Galloway took offence at his ethnicity and quickly left.
In a clip of the incident, which has already attracted thousands of views online, Galloway interrupts Aslan-Levy by asking: "You said we. Are you an Israeli?"
When the 21-year-old student answers "I am, yes", Galloway stands up and replies: "I don't debate with Israelis, I've been misled, sorry."
Before leaving the lecture theatre, he adds: "I don't recognise Israel, and I don't debate with Israelis."
Galloway, who famously met Saddam Hussein in 2007, has previously spoken out against Israel and its treatment of the Palestinian people.
The bizarre incident has since prompted a backlash from the online community, which has slammed the MP for refusing to talk to someone simply because of their heritage.
"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," Aslan-Levy told Oxford student newspaper The Cherwell.
Galloway later defended his decision to leave the debate, claiming that Aslan-Levy was "a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel."
He told his fans on Facebook: "The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated."
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