On the 10th of November the Windsor building was host for the night to the PIR Society discussion on the topic “Israel and Palestine: War or Genocide?” Speaking for the night was MP George Galloway from the Respect Party.
George Galloway, an infamous figure in British Politics, notably stormed out of a discussion at Christ Church College Oxford about Israel and the West Bank when he came to understand that one of the members of the discussion was of Israeli nationality. At Royal Holloway, Galloway retained his strongly pro-Palestinian stance, reflecting on the human suffering of the people of the Gaza Strip during recent Israeli action. Attentive to breaking news reports from Israel, laying claim to attacks by Palestinian Militants on Israelis, Mr Galloway was quite prepared throughout the discussion to defend acts of violence by Palestinians as a symptom of ‘Israeli occupation’ of the land of Palestine. Not mincing his words, he went on to state that Israel was a ‘colonial enterprise’ in the region.
“Muslims have to soul-search why every Muslim country is led by tyrants…who help the oppression of Palestinians.”
In his speech, Mr Galloway reiterated examples of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians citing the closure of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem as just one example which illustrated that Israel had actively reneged upon the Oslo agreement for a two state solution. Israel, Galloway claimed, continues to blockade the Gaza Strip, occupy the West Bank and makes no steps towards reconciliation with the Palestinian population. When asked his opinion regarding the somewhat laissez-faire attitudes of neighbouring Muslim states to the Palestinian population within Israel, Mr Galloway answered pithily that “Muslims have to soul-search why every Muslim country is led by tyrants…who help the oppression of Palestinians.” Arguing the illegitimacy of an Israeli dominion over a marginalised population of Palestinians to be unjust and illegitimate, Mr Galloway was quick to argue that the current state of affairs in Israel was similar to the white minority rule over the black majority in South Africa during apartheid. He also later cited the N. Ireland conflict as evidence for a successful resolution.
The evening was another example of a successful PIRsoc event, which provided interesting debate for all who attended. Mr Galloway’s full views on the conflict can be found on the website for the Respect Party.