Anti-Israel politician loses UK parliament seat in election

The former MP is alleged with misappropriating government funds for his private charity Viva Palestina.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
May 8, 2015 09:04
2 minute read.
George Galloway

George Galloway. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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George Galloway, a vehemently anti-Israel British politician has lost his seat in parliament following the UK's national elections on Thursday. The controversial Respect Party MP for Bradford West has been vocal about his dislike for Israel and "Zionists," though fiercely denies he is anti-Semitic.

In his concession speech, Galloway emphasized that this is not the end of his political career, adding that "The venal and the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating."

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"The hyena can dance on the lion's grave, but it can never be a lion. In any case, I'm not in my grave. As a matter of fact,  I'm going off now to plan my next campaign," he said.

The newly ex-politico is in hot water for a number of reasons, including recent allegations that he misused government funds, such as for his private charity Viva Palestina, which was recently frozen by the UK's Charity Commission.

His former parliamentary assistant Aisha Ali-Khan lodged a legal complaint against Galloway, filed on her behalf by Asserson Law Offices, over allegations that she was paid during her work hours to organize Viva Palestina's fundraising events, organize its media coverage, organize and promote a "Women's Convoy" to Gaza, recruite Viva Palestina volunteers and prepare promotional material.

"During her employment, Ms Ali-Khan was instructed to carry out a number of activities which were clearly not parliamentary and some of which were expressly prohibited...except when on leave," according to the legal statement. Ali-Khan also alleged in the statement that she was charged with helping to plan Galloway's wedding and assisting his soon-to-be bride.

In the six months that she worked as Galloway's assistant, she claims that 75 percent of her work time was spent on non-Parliamentary matters. British law puts the onus on parliament members for making sure that funds, such as salaries for assistants, are used only in relation to governmental matters.

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Last year, standing in front of a Palestinian flag Galloway declared the northern city of Bradford, an “Israel-free zone.” “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 college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel,” he said.

In August of 2014, when asked about alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Galloway said that if it was true, Israel was the one supplying al-Qaida with the sarin gas used. "If there has been use of chemical weapons, it was al-Qaida," he said. "Who gave al-Qaida chemical weapons? Here's my theory. Israel gave them the chemical weapons."

Galloway is also infamous for an anti-Israel incident at Oxford University in October 2013, when upon discovering that he would share the platform with an Israeli student, he walked off the stage and said he didn’t “debate with Israelis.”

Jerry Lewis contributed to this report.

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