With trademark bombast, former British MP George Galloway exhorted American muslims to do more to fight for the Palestinian cause on Friday night in Brooklyn. He told a half-full banquet hall in Sunset Park that despite his defeat in Britain’s parliamentary elections two weeks ago, he would continue his work on behalf of Palestinians. “I promise you that I will continue this struggle until the day I die, and the last word on my lips is Palestine,” he said, speaking at a fundraiser for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Galloway’s visit prompted a complaint from the American Jewish Committee (AJC), who last week called on the US government to “scrutinize” the British politician, perhaps with the intention of getting him barred from he country, a measure Canada took against the MP last year. AJC accused Galloway of supporting Hamas, presumably in reference to a March 2009 visit to Gaza during which Galloway donated thousands of dollars and a fleet of ambulances and other vehicles to the Hamas-led Palestinian government there. During his speech, Galloway made note of US authorities’ decision to allow him into the country as a political victory. He also responded to his critics, saying, “I hate terrorism.” “It is a sin in any religion,” he stated, saying he abhorred attacks such as the 7 July 2005 London subway bombings. But, he argued, “Terrorism can also be carried out by men in suits.” “Terrorism is [also]the Israeli army raining down destruction on people in Lebanon or in Gaza.”
George Galloway is a far-left British M.P. who was expelled from the Labor Party over incendiary comments made at time of the 2003 Iraq War. He subsequently formed the Respect Coalition which prior to a 2007 split included the Socialist Workers Party and members of the Muslim Association of Britain and Muslim Council of Britain, essentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. The Respect coalition was the sponsor of the February 2003 anti-Iraq war demonstration in London, reported by police to have been the largest demonstration ever held in the U.K. A previous post discussed the 2007 falling out between Galloway and the Socialist Workers Party and the speculation that the difficulties stemmed from Galloway’s desire to focus more on developing a Muslim constituency. At that time, Galloway launched a new movement called Respect Renewal which helped to elect Mr Galloway as a Respect MP. As discussed in an earlier post, Mr. Galloway recently lost his seat in the House of Commons, the only seat held by the Respect Party.
Galloway has been a long-time supporter of Palestinian causes and a recent post discussed his role in Viva Palestina, a UK registered charity associated which is currently under investigation by U.K. authorities. The organization has organized several convoys of humanitarian aid to Gaza including the first convoy where Galloway was reported to have handed cash and three cars to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah and the second convoy where Galloway met again with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah. Previous posts have discussed Galloway’s trips to the U.S. in conjunction with the convoys including a trip in March 2009 where he participated in a Northern Virginia fund-raising event in which Muslim American Society leader Mahdi Bray was also scheduled to appear.
US Jewish media is reporting that Mr. Galloway will be the main attraction at a Memorial Day weekend event benefiting the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA). According to a former FBI analyst, the MLFA had its origins in the defense of the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, convicted in the financing of Hamas.