George Galloway

George Galloway

George Galloway has pledged to ban a planned London celebration of Tel Aviv if he becomes the capital’s mayor – branding it a “festival of apartheid”.

The Israeli Embassy’s cultural department, which is drawing up the plans, hopes the event will highlight how the city has become a thriving and vibrant hub for the creative arts.

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However, in an Twitter exchange on Thursday, Galloway, who is bidding to win the race for City Hall next May, warned: “Israelis will be welcome in London if I’m mayor. But there will be no ‘festival’ of apartheid here.”

His threat sparked a flurry of responses on the social media site, for and against his stance. When prompted to confirm his position, the 60-year-old former MP simply tweeted: “Yep.”

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Current mayor Boris Johnson was in Israel this week when plans for the festival were revealed.

He said: “I am pleased to see the embassy of Israel’s ambitions to bring a festival of Israeli culture to London in the summer of 2017. I hope this festival will demonstrate the spirit and diversity of Tel Aviv and showcase both London and Tel Aviv as two tolerant and vibrant cities.”

In August, George Galloway warned Jewish News he would not host Israeli mayors at City Hall if elected next year.