George Galloway by-election victory a ‘dark day’ for British Jews

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George Galloway by-election victory a ‘dark day’ for British Jews

New MP says his Rochdale win is 'for Gaza' as Board of Deputies calls for him to be shunned

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

George Galloway holds a rally at his Rochdale Headquarters after being declared winner of the Rochdale by-election.
George Galloway holds a rally at his Rochdale Headquarters after being declared winner of the Rochdale by-election.

The Board of Deputies has described George Galloway’s Rochdale by-election win as a “dark day” for the community and called for him to be “shunned as a pariah by all parliamentarians”.

While the Jewish Leadership Council said his victory in Thursday’s poll meant he would have another chance to “further spread his hatred” in parliament.

Meanwhile the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester warned that the election of the veteran anti-Zionist campaigner would “be a cause of significant concern for the Jewish community.”

Galloway’s Workers Party of Great Britain won with just under 40 per cent of the vote in the by-election, giving him a majority of 5,697 over second placed David Tully, a local businessman and independent candidate, when the result was announced in the early hours on Friday.

In his victory speech, Galloway sought to ram home his attempt to claim the vote was a referendum on Labour’s stance on Gaza saying: “Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza.

“You have paid, and you will pay, a high price for the role that you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Palestine in the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview with Sky News, Galloway was asked if he believed Israel had the “right to exist.”

He responded:”No state has the right to exist, not the Soviet Union…. not the Zionist apartheid state of Israel.”

He also justified the “From The River To The Sea” chant used by Palestine campaigners adding:”I think there should be one democratic and secular state between the river and the sea.”

He added:”If I was doing their marketing I’d call it the Holy Land.”


???? This guy is now representing an entire town in the UK. GET TO KNOW: Rochdale’s new Member of Parliament, George Galloway. ???? by Richard Ferrer.

♬ original sound – Jewish News

Meanwhile, the disgraced former MP Chris Williamson, now deputy leader of Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain, appeared on television after the vote was announced to claim that Israel was killing more people each day in Gaza than were killed in the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

Galloway earlier said he would put Rochdale councillors “on notice” that he intended to form a “grand alliance” to “clean the town hall up” at the local elections in May.

In a statement, the Board said:”George Galloway is a demagogue and conspiracy theorist who has brought the politics of division and hate to every place he has ever stood for parliament.

“His election is a dark day for the Jewish community in this country and for British politics in general.”

The Jewish Rep Councillor Greater Manchester and Region added:”“Community cohesion is coming under unprecedented pressure.

“It is now more important than ever that people concentrate on building bridges by ensuring a conflict taking place thousands of miles away is not used as an excuse to target Jewish people across the region”.

Jewish Leadership Council director of public affairs Russell Langer added:”George Galloway has made a career out of the politics of division and has once again used a by-election to exploit fault lines in community tension.

“It will be worrying to many in the community that he will now have a platform in parliament again to spread further his hatred.”

The Rochdale campaign has been mired in controversy and claims of intimidation and divisive tactics.

Labour withdrew support for its candidate, Azhar Ali, after a recording emerged in which he claimed Israel was complicit in the terrorist attacks of October 7, seeing Mr Galloway become the firm favourite for the seat.

Ali remained listed as the Labour candidate as the party’s decision came too late for ballot papers to be changed.

A Labour spokesperson said: “We deeply regret that the Labour party was unable to field a candidate in this by-election and apologise to the people of Rochdale. George Galloway only won because Labour did not stand.

“Rochdale deserved the chance to vote for an MP that would bring communities together and deliver for working people. George Galloway is only interested in stoking fear and division. As an MP he will be a damaging force in our communities and public life.

“The Labour Party will quickly begin the process to select a new Labour candidate for the general election, and will be campaigning hard to deliver the representation and fresh start that Rochdale deserves.”

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