Friday, April 30, 2010

UK: George Galloway Funds-- Surprise! -- Hamas

Shiraz Maher
Hudson New York
29 April '10

George Galloway is always a useful barometer for gauging the climate of sectarian and reactionary politics in Britain. In 2005 he quit his Glasgow constituency to fight for election in the London borough of Bethnal Green and Bow - one of London’s most deprived and divided constituencies.

Galloway’s entire period as a Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow was typified by unavailability. More important to him than the concerns of his constituents were the agitations of the Middle East and South Asia.

Much of this involved his dedicating considerable amounts of energy to the Viva Palestina campaign about which Galloway is now becoming increasingly embarrassed. After presenting Hamas officials with money in Gaza - a criminal offence in many Western nations - he now insists he did no such thing.

The Globe and Mail reports Galloway as now insisting, “I didn’t give any money to Hamas, I gave it to the ministry of health in Gaza to pay for the salaries of the doctors and nurses who hadn’t been paid. By the way, we’re talking about 20 odd thousand pounds, not millions. It’s a symbolic donation. I gave it to the ministry of health in Gaza and I’m proud to have done so.”

It is a remarkable statement, offering a pirouetted view into the parallel universe Galloway so often seems to occupy. Several Arab television stations broadcast his speech at the time, and it remains widely available on the internet. What Galloway actually said was, “I, now, here, on behalf of myself, my sister Yvonne Ridley, and the two Respect councillors - Muhammad Ishtiaq and Naim Khan - are giving three cars and 25,000 pounds in cash to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics.”

Politics, not charity. There is no mention of paying doctors or nurses in Galloway’s triumphalist speech.

(Read full article)

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