No charges for British lawmaker George Galloway for ‘Israel-free zone’ comment

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — British lawmaker George Galloway will not be prosecuted for calling for his constituency to be “declared an Israel-free zone.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced last week that there was not enough evidence to file any charges against Galloway, despite numerous complaints made to the West Yorkshire Police that he was inciting racial hatred.

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The incident has been categorized by police as a “hate incident,” according to reports.

“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford even if any of them had thought of doing so,” Galloway, of the Socialist Respect party, said in a speech in his district in August, reportedly in reaction to the Israel-Gaza conflict. “We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel — and you have to do the same.” Galloway said that Israeli goods, services and academics were likewise unwelcome.

Following the announcement that he would not be prosecuted, Galloway said: “This has been an extremely expensive waste of police and CPS time forced on them by ultra-Zionists who were pursuing a vendetta against me. My comments were aimed at the state of Israel, which – I repeat what I said at the time – is an illegal, savage and barbarous state, and had nothing whatever to do with race or religion.”

He added: “I take back not a word and I will continue to forcefully condemn Israel. It remains the case that there is a worldwide boycott of Israel, its goods, its services, its academics.”

He called on his constituency to “truly make Bradford an Israel-free zone.”

Galloway skipped the vote in Britain’s House of Commons earlier this month recognizing a state of Palestine because it also accepted the existence of the state of Israel.