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George Galloway's Refusal to Debate Israelis Is Not Racist

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Being anti-Zionist does not mean being anti-Semitic.


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George Galloway is being called a racist for walking out of a debate at Oxford University when he discovered that his opponent was Israeli.

This is a dishonest, easy way of ignoring what Galloway is actually saying. After walking out, he made this statement:

"I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel. The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine -- the address is the PLO."

I have been called an anti-Semite for criticizing Israel. Like Galloway's, my objection is not to Jewish people - it is to murder and land-grabbing.

I would not debate anyone who identified with Israel if doing so could be construed as my recognizing Israel as a nation rather than the terrorist state I consider it to be. I would not travel to Israel. That is not racism - it is objection to policy. I am anti-Zionist, anti-racist, not anti-Semitic.

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Barry Graham is a Scottish novelist, journalist and Zen teacher based in the US since 1995. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and has written for a diversity of magazines and newspapers, including Harper's, Flaunt, Parabola, Las Vegas (more...)

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