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Middle East Issues





CAMERA Responds to Galloway Coverage in Boston Paper


George Galloway appeared in Boston on Feb. 1, 2009 to raise money for his group Viva Palestina. Boston radio personality Michael Graham covered his impending appearance during his show earlier in the day, but most of the local media ignored Galloway’s speech despite his role as an apologist for murderers and dictators in the Middle East.

Galloway spoke at the Palestinian Cultural Center for Peace in Allston, a neighborhood of Boston. Prior to its incarnation as a mosque and a Palestinian cultural center, the building was owned by a congregation of Brazilian Protestants, and before that, a congregation of the United Church of Christ.

One local newspaper, The Allston-Brighton Tab, did cover the event.
 

Unfortunately, the coverage left out a few important details about Galloway’s career and his group, Viva Palestina. For example, the article failed to report that an Egyptian border guard was shot dead by a Hamas terrorist during a disturbance that erupted when Galloway’s caravan reached the Egyptian-Gaza border in early January. The article merely stated that “Fifty people were injured” as a result of the disturbance.

 

Factual Errors

 
The article also falsely reported that most of the Gazans killed during Israel's attack on Hamas last winter were civilians. In fact, most of the people killed during last winter's fighting, provoked by an increase in rocket attacks, were members of terrorist organizations, and were not civilians.

The article also states “The infrastructure in Gaza hasn't been repaired because ‘the blockade by Israel and Egypt prevents building materials from entering Gaza,' said Galloway." Israel has allowed building materials into the Gaza Strip, but there have been restrictions, largely because of Hamas' previous use of cement for the construction of fortifications and bunkers, a fact omitted from the story.

Galloway's Career and Party

Aside from these obvious errors and omissions, the biggest problem is the article's failure to detail the political agenda of Galloway's political party, Respect. In his recently published book, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to Global Jihad (Random House 2009) Robert Wistrich reports that Respect has “embraced the classic Soviet propaganda myth of Nazi-Zionist collaboration.” He continues:

[Respect] militantly advocates the boycott of Israel and openly favors the return of all Palestinian refugees to the Jewish state in order to dismantle it. Galloway is on record as repeatedly glorifying the “democratic” credentials of Hamas and Hezbollah. The primitive anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial of both these Islamist terror organizations does not in the least inhibit members of the Respect party. After all, like so many other left-wing or Islamist groupings, Respect insists that Jews are not a nation and therefore must disappear as a distinct entity. (A Lethal Obsession, Kindle locations 1233-45).

Wistrich also reports that

Galloway … unabashedly declared in January 2009: “Today 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.” It is this kind of vehement rhetoric, branding Israel as the epitome of evil, that could (in certain circumstances) incite a crowd to torch a synagogue or communal center. (A Lethal Obsession, Kindle locations 8108-18)

Galloway has also stated that “Hezbollah is not now, nor has ever been, a terrorist organization.” In fact, Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths of 241 U.S. servicemen in Lebanon in a bomb attack that took place in 1982. (The phrase “Death to America” is a phrase that can heard at Hezbollah rallies in Lebanon.)

 

The Argentine government has also charged Hezbollah for a 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenes Aires that killed 29 people and injured almost 300.

 

Hezbollah is also accused of perpetrating 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenes Aires that killed 86 people. In both these attacks, Hezbollah was, according to Richard Rubenstein, working at the behest of Iran, which was angry at Argentine President Carlos Menem for “reneging on an agreement to transfer nuclear technology to Iran and to train Iranian nuclear technicians in Argentina.” (For a summary of these of these and other attacks, and the evidence linking them to Hezbollah, see pages 142-151 of Rubenstein’s Jihad and Genocide (Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010).

 

Sadly, the Allston-Brighton Tab failed to report Galloway’s defense of Hezbollah.

CAMERA's Response

CAMERA responded to the article in an article published in today's issue of the Allston-Brighton Tab. Due to space considerations, the article did not address any of the factual errors detailed above, but limited itself to Galloway's career and his status as an apologist for murderers and dictators in the Middle East.

The full text of the article can be seen here. An excerpt is below:

Galloway has praised the leaders of both Hezbollah and Hamas, and has praised and defended Tariq Aziz, an official in Saddam Hussein's government convicted of crimes against humanity for his part in the summary executions of 42 merchants in Baghdad in and for his role in the displacement of the Kurds.
 
Galloway has mocked the reformist movement in Iran, stating the protesters were in the streets because the “cookie crumbled the wrong way” in the election that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office. These protesters are being murdered in the street by a tyrannical regime that by most accounts stole an election to stay in power, and yet Galloway mocks them, going so far as to suggest that “foreign hands” were responsible for the protests in Tehran.
 
In response, Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's rights Organization, a British charity to protect women from the Middle East from honor killings and forced marriage, said “[Galloway] lives in a free country and is hurting that country. Galloway has never lived in Iran. He has never been beaten for criticizing the government. If he could live in Iran for a month, then he could say it is a democracy. He has freedom, but I don't think he lives on this earth. How is it that George Galloway cannot see what is going on?”
 
Galloway has a different attitude toward elected leaders in the West. In May 2006, he stated that it would be “morally justified” for a suicide bomber to kill British Prime Minister Tony Blair, qualifying his statement by stating, “I'm not calling for it.”
For more information about Galloway's outrageous statements, go to this youtube channel.

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