By Jack Mendel, politics graduate
George Galloway MP was recently attacked in West London, offering up a new insight into public views surrounding physical violence in the political process.
The MP for Bradford West is synonymous with Anti-Israel sentiment in the UK, amongst other issues surrounding the anti-war movement, and riles emotions for many.
But even if you are the most staunchly blind supporter of Israel – in fact – even if you aren’t, but just disagree with Mr. Galloway because of his often controversial and intimidating opinions, promoting physical violence is an obstacle to winning a successful debate.
It allows Galloway to legitimately be a victim.
There is plenty of evidence against George Galloway’s shady political career, and he will use any slight opportunity to detract from that, and play the victim card.
George Galloway’s political discourse is largely to stand up for Palestine, as the victim. He uses this narrative to present himself as the victim, and the defender of the victim over and over again.
Politically of course he has on many occasions made questionable decisions however, which are inconsistent with his victim card.
When walked out of a debate at Oxford University, because the person he was debating was of Israeli Nationality, he was widely condemned for racism.
Likewise, when he declared Bradford to be an ‘Israel free zone’, he was questioned by police for inciting hatred.
If he had have done this with any other nationality, he would have been called a racist.
Just imagine: “London should be a Chinese free zone because of the Chinese Government’s policy in Tibet”.
It sounds ridiculous.
He has also expressed remarks about rape, which had condemnation from the International Socialist, incase you thought criticism only came from the pro-Israel right.
By attacking George Galloway, he gains political capital.
It is counter productive to support Israel through the argument that it is a democratic state, whilst simultaneously supporting an action that is against the democratic process.
An MP is elected into public office and has legitimacy even if you disagree with their substantive views very vehemently.
To attack an MP is to attack the process of democracy, and in this context, it thus gives George Galloway and his supporters and worldview an own goal, as you are doing so in the name of supporting Israel on that ‘democratic state’ argument.
In the Daily Mail, he was claimed to have said that:
“We live in a democracy, and as someone who has been elected as an MP on six occasions, I have a right to voice my opinions.”
Needless to say, he is right in that regard.
It is also worth noting that as a very successful and compelling orator. If anyone could capitalise on an incident like this, it is Galloway.
In that same Mail article, he said:
“Like other politicians who have suffered similar threats and attacks, I am entitled to receive a degree of protection from the State so I can continue to do so.”
In other words, he will turn this into a long term political gain, by having visible police protection when he is in public. It will reinforce his rhetoric about being the victim, and supporting the victim, even though he is most certainly not the victim on many occasions.
He is paid handsomely as an MP and as a host on RT [Russia Today] and Iran’s state television channel, Press TV. He earns plenty of money for his exploits and self gratification.
But he can now deflect it, by citing this threat when he needs to bulk up his rhetoric, with a substance.
The reaction that is discerned from the attack can also be made into a political point.
There have been some calls by supporters of Israel and Jews in the UK Jewish community to not support this attack on Galloway [rightly.]
What idiot punched George Galloway? If you can’t stand the sight of him, just say you’re Israeli and watch him walk away. — Eylon Aslan-Levy (@EylonALevy) August 30, 2014
Equally, fair warning: from now on anybody who tweets me saying Galloway had it coming is permanently blocked — Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 30, 2014
The fact the normally Pro-Israel, staunchly Anti-Galloway individuals are coming to his defence, plays into his hands politically.
Of course, it should be condemned for reasons stated, but it is an inherently political point that certain people are having to say so. He has also received some support from the left.
George Galloway bruised after attack. Earlier Jim Murphy egged. I don’t support either of them, but political violence beyond the pale. — david white (@davidwhite020) August 29, 2014
He is receiving support from left and right, which makes this odious man look like he has broad political support.
He doesn’t. He is a politician that claims to speak for the many, but who is despised by many also. In the same vein, there are many who have reinforced the victim card.
George Galloway’s attacker is due in court today, charged with restoring faith in humanity. — Alan (@alansheppard) September 1, 2014
There has even been a site set up to help the attacker’s legal fees.
— MPACUK (@MPACUK) August 31, 2014
By emphasising it was a good thing, and by presenting this attack as something he ‘deserved’, it offers him political ammunition.
It allows him to be the victim. It gives him a political pivot to move off from. And more importantly, it reinforces his argument about Zionism being conflicting with democracy, which is ultimately what the attacker would have been trying to repel.