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November 18, 2010

Mr. Galloway goes to Toronto

Scott Stockdale

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Although former British MP George Galloway received a raucous welcome from Zionist students supporting Israel, in the hallway of an auditorium at York University recently, a sold out crowd of 500 gave him a warm welcome inside the auditorium.

Security was tight, with uniformed police officers present to augment York University security staff. Meanwhile, chants of: “Not on my campus, not on my dime,” were barely audible in the auditorium where Mr. Galloway was speaking, as student demonstrators, waved Israeli flags in the hallway and expressed their angry at the student union which organized the event. The protest continued after Mr. Galloway finished speaking and the audience filed out of the auditorium.

Mr. Galloway began his 11 city speaking tour by pointing out that he is free to speak in most countries of the world, including the United States and the countries of the European Union, but Immigration Minister Jason Kenney banned him from speaking in Canada, in 2009.

“Canada used to be a haven for free speech. It used to be a haven for war resisters. Canada was known as a progressive country that solves problems in the world, not exacerbates them. Now this country is the last embassy for the most extremist Israeli government ever. What's in it for Canada? Canada is dangerously isolating itself.”

He noted that Prime Minister Harper said Canada will pay any price to support the racist government of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but then he asked: “Why should you have to pay?”

While acknowledging that it's up to Canadians to decide on Canada's policy in Afghanistan, he questioned the Harper government's motivation in deciding to extend the mission until 2014.

“I understand the extension is for more training for Hamid Karzai's government. How come these people need so much training? They've been training them for ten years now. Nobody is training the Taliban and they're doing okay. Are we really training them or just acting as political cover for US and British occupation?”

He added that the Karzai regime -with the full knowledge of NATO – is already negotiating with the Taliban; and the terms are the same as they were ten years ago, before the war began.

“That means that every person who has died need not have died.”

He said the world has a right to demand that Afghanistan not be a terrorist base to attack other countries in the world, but Bob Woodward pointed out in his book Obama's Wars that the US Secret Service said there are now less than 45 al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, so the whole basis of the war is gone. He then pointed out that it's telling to examine the root cause of the Afghan War.

“What got you into this mess? The immoral principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We armed Osama bin Laden (in the 1980's) and now we're doing the same with the Mujahedin in Iran. Some members of the Canadian Parliament are already consorting with the Mujahedin in Iran. If you allow yourselves to be walked down this path, you will end up in another war with another Muslim country.”

He said Canadian government intransigence – epitomized by its refusal to deal with Hamas - is also exacerbating the problems in the Middle East.

“Everybody else in the world is talking to Hamas, including the US and the EU. Why? Because if you want to solve a problem, you have to talk to the people you're in conflict with. It's madness to only talk to the people at peace. Hamas won a free and a democratic election.”

The alternative, Mr. Galloway said, is to endure a never-ending conflict, such as the one that's been going on for over 40 years in the Middle East.

While false allegations abound in the mainstream press, that Mr. Galloway is a supporter of Hamas, he said he isn't, nor ever has he ever been a supporter of Hamas.

“I'm a supporter of democracy. Nobody has the right to choose the leadership of the Palestinian people except the Palestinian people themselves.”

He said Palestine is the country that has been wiped off the face of the earth; Palestinians are driven with regularity from anywhere in the world they go, and all they've done is refuse to go into that good night called surrender.

“We resist therefore we exist,” Mr. Galloway said, is the motto of the Palestinians. And he offers a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The price of peace is justice: every Palestinian refugee and their children and grandchildren must have the right of return. I supported Oslo, but Oslo is dead.”

Although formerly a supporter of the Oslo agreement, Mr. Galloway has since witnessed the building of a wall enclosing Palestinians and the continued expansion of Israeli settlements – which Mr. Galloway said are really cities – on Palestinian land.  Due to these kinds of realities on the ground he now says he champions a one-state solution: one democratic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

“One man, one woman, one vote. If it was good enough for post-apartheid South Africa, it's good enough for post-Zionist Israel.”

In a question and answer session after his presentation, Mr. Galloway said he and those who support the anti-war movement are not anti-Semitic, as evidenced by the thousands of Jews around the world who support the cause of peace.

“Anti-Semitism is a Christian European phenomenon. Arabs have never been involved... Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust. It was a European, Christian, fascist phenomenon. Many Jews were turned away (trying to escape the Holocaust) by Canada, European and other so-called civilized countries. Now Palestinians are being made to pay (for the Holocaust) by people who's countries were responsible for the Holocaust.”

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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