British Jews and Israelis Defy MP Galloway in Bradford Visit
A group of British Jews and Israelis visited the City of Bradford in defiance of Member of Parliament George Galloway's recent assertion that the city should be an "Israel free zone".
The group, led by Rabbi Shneur Odze who is also a UKIP candidate, took the trip this weekend "to defend the British sense of fair play and tolerance".
Last week Mr Galloway, who has represented Bradford since winning a by-election there in 2012 said Bradford should boycott Israeli goods, academics and even tourists.
In his speech he said: “We have declared Bradford an Israel free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college.
“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”
Rabbi Odze and his group visited the city to show Mr Galloway that British Jews and Israelis living in Britain wouldn't be bullied by the politician's hateful rhetoric. They visited the city centre and spoke with locals about the issue. Some of the group hold duel citizenship with Israel and brought their Israeli passports along.
Rabbi Odze said: “I was rather anxious as to what kind of reaction we’d get. However I’m pleased to say that, a few shouts from across the road aside, the reception was almost exclusively positive.
"A number of locals were welcoming and wished us well. Almost everyone, unprompted, seemed to know why we were there. Britain has always been a tolerant and open society which welcomes free speech and deplores incitement. This time the court of public opinion may not judge Galloway so favourably.”
A petition calling for Mr Galloway to be prosecuted for hate speech under the Public Order Act 1986 has been launched, and has so far received almost 4000 signatures.
Meanwhile, the local tourist office in Bradford has received a surge of requests for brochures from British Jews.