By Rosie DiManno
The Star Columnist
Editorial: Galloway brouhaha (April)
Judge denies Galloway entry (2009
Clip: Gallowy on the Hour (Mar. 31, 2009)
Full interview on The Hour
Galloway court filings (PDF)
Jewish group proud of role in ban
Archive of March 24 discussion
YouTube: Galloway speaks at Columbia University
YouTube: Galloway debates Meir Weinstein of the Jewish Defence League of Canada
Galloway on The Hour (2006)
YouTube: Galloway meets Saddam
YouTube: The cat incident
YouTube: Galloway vs. O'Reilly
George Galloway's website
Galloway: Canada can't muzzle me (Guardian)
A selection of George Galloway’s Greatest Hits:
“Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?’’
— From an interview with Abu Dhabi TV, as British troops participated in the invasion of Iraq
“Sir, I salute your courage, your strength and your indefatigability.’’
— Spoken to Saddam Hussein, 1994
“Hezbollah has never been a terrorist organization!’’
— Shrieked at a 2006 demonstration
“Democracy in Cuba is more free than in the U.K.’’
— 2006 speech to the Oxford Students Union
“Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the U.S. would not be rampaging around the globe.’’
— 2002 interview with The Guardian
“It’s not Jews that we hate. It’s the racist, apartheid occupation of Palestine.’’
— Sunday afternoon, at Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church
George Galloway is not a terrorist. A holy terror, self-aggrandizing loon from the radical left, foaming-at-the-mouth blovian, one-trick pony anti-war crusader and Israel demonizer — all yes. But on the evidence — and the documentation runs to thousands of pages, from U.S. Senate and British Parliamentary briefings to libel action filings — not a direct proponent of or financial contributor to terrorism.
His moral and political relativism, however, leaves much to be desired.
“I hate terrorism, be it by a man with a beard in a tunnel in Tora Bora or a man in a suit in the White House!’’ Galloway thundered Sunday to rapturous applause from an audience of some 600 or so Galloway Groupies, a full-house nuthouse of acolytes who finally got the opportunity to hear their idol speak, live and in person.
Oratory is something Galloway does well, though not so often in Westminster during his multiple terms as an elected MP, 634th out of 645 among House of Commons debate participants, at least after his expulsion from the Labour Party and ideological transition to Respect — The Unity Coalition, a Trotskyist cadre.
The reason for Galloway’s absence from the Commons was his time-consuming rant engagements when not otherwise occupied with blockade-busting “humanitarian aid’’ sorties to Gaza or fomenting revulsion for Israel.
There’s even more time for that now, having lost his seat in the last British election, a rejection that Galloway blames squarely on Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration — “Minister of Censorship and Deportation’’ — and the damaging publicity that attended last year’s successful ploy to keep the rabble-rouser out of a speaking gig in this country.
Kenney is a fool on this file. He handed Galloway a bigger platform for chest-thumping histrionics than the Scotsman would ever have enjoyed on his own dubious merits. A federal court judge said as much this past week, accusing the Conservative government of acting politically to suppress Galloway’s opinions.
Apart from manoeuvering behind the scenes to stop Galloway in his tracks for his dealings with and donations to Gaza’s elected Hamas government — which Canada categorizes as a terrorist organization — Kenney stated publicly and paternalistically at the time: “I believe folks that are supporting and promoting and helping terrorist organizations are not needed to visit Canada.’’
Quick on the heels of the judge’s non-decision last Monday — there was, technically, nothing to overturn because Galloway decided against coming to Canada, advised that he’d likely be denied entry — the limelight-luxuriating “Gorgeous George’’ hopped on a plane to make good his remanded local appearance, an invitation extended by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War.
Which war the coalition wishes to stop, we’re not entirely sure. If Afghanistan, the Tories have already announced Canada’s troops will pull out next July. If Iraq — Galloway’s primary focus this past decade — Canada was never in.
If they mean Israel’s military aggression against the West Bank and Gaza, then we’re on familiar ground. That was clearly the matter of most hostile opposition among yesterday’s audience, with a simultaneous shout-out to American war deserters, smacked down this past week with the nay-vote on second reading to Gerard Kennedy’s resident status bill.
(“More resisters on the stage,’’ directed one of yesterday’s organizers, as the special guests assembled for Galloway’s arrival.)
In any event, it was a triumphalist turn of the screw for Galloway and his advocates. That included the lawyer who compared Canada’s door-slamming to dissident voices with censorship in Iran and China. “Canada is in line with exactly those countries.’’
Gleefully, Galloway took pugnacious pokes at “the judicial caning of a government minister’’ — that would be Kenney — comparing him, in a somewhat disjointed analogy, to those “who are always ready to fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood,’’ a favourite bumper-sticker refrain from Galloway’s anti-war hymnal that actually has nothing to do with Kenney’s Hamas reasoning.
Claiming that he’s had a rethink about abandoning a libel suit against Kenney, Galloway declared he will now “seek redress,” whilst calling the minister a “liar and deceiver and cheat.” Further, he challenged Kenney to a public debate, presumably when he can fit that in.
On rhetoric alone, Galloway would mop the floor with Kenney. Just recently returned to his radio talk-show pulpit, he is the Rush Limbaugh loudmouth of the ultraleft.
The crux, though, is this: “I am not, nor have I ever been, a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism or any kind of security threat to Canada.’’
No, no, never a threat, agreed. Just a demagogue darling of the idiot-ocracy