Gallows Humour

Stupidity knows no bounds, especially when fuelled by narcissism and a tongue laced with demagogy. There is no other way to describe George Galloway’s absurd and offensive suggestion that Bradford should impose a total ban on Israeli tourists. Statistically it would be interesting to see how many tourists from any country visit Bradford (even after Galloway’s election as the Respect MP, an election that some of us welcomed at the time).

Politically it’s crazy. There are, after all, many Arab Israelis. Presumably they will not be excluded from savouring the delights of Bradford. And there are many anti-Zionist Israelis, including factions of the hassidim who were and remain opposed to the existence of Israel. Will they be punished too? Will there be Israeli-style checkpoints at every entrance to the city where Israelis will be asked whether or not they’re Zionists? How do you tell?

Demagogy of this sort helps those who defend Israel right or wrong, but one can’t help feeling that this is a desperate last throw to save Galloway’s seat in the general election. I doubt that the ploy will work. He might be luckier (though I hope not) in Scotland where his unionist politics align him with the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems and where he argues that an independent Scotland would not be inclusive. Unlike Bradford?

Click here to view the article on the LRB website.