Far left MP George Galloway has declared the town of Bradford an “Israel free zone” on a video uploaded to YouTube today.
Mr Galloway, who has represented the town since winning a by-election there is 2012, has 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.”
Galloway has a long track record of supporting Islamists and their sympathisers. His wife is Palestinian and he refuses to answer questions about whether he has converted to Islam, although he is known to be a teetotal.
The Scottish firebrand began his career as a Labour MP in Glasgow, but in 2004 he left and founded the Respect Party. When he founded his new party he decided to move from Glasgow and instead run in East London.
He won a spectacular victory over Labour in Bethnal Green and Bow, which is part of Tower Hamlets, the area that the extremist-linked Mayor Lutfur Rahman represents. At the time of his election in 2005 Jeremy Paxman accused him of choosing to “exploit latent racial tensions” in East London because he had run against a Jewish Labour MP, Oona King. Although there is no suggestion of impropriety against Galloway the election turned into a bitter and racist battle.
Galloway is also well known for his refusal to share a platform with Israelis and has been known to walk out of meetings as a result.
He was a keen supporter of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and opposed the American-led liberation. However, unlike other members of the UK Stop the War Coalition Galloway had met with Mr Hussein. At the time of their meeting in 1994 Galloway said “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, and your indefatigability”.
Bradford has a large Muslim population, mostly immigrants from Pakistan and his hard-line stance is likely to prove popular. It is unclear what his attitude is towards Jewish people in Bradford who support Israel but do not hold citizenship.