Thursday, February 21, 2013

The speech that sent Galloway packing...

Jonathan Hoffman
February 21, 2013
I am proud to be the first (I believe) to publish the speech by Oxford student Eylon Aslan-Levy that sent George Galloway on his bike last night. The motion was that Israel should leave the West Bank now. Galloway had proposed, Aslan-Levy was opposing.
Mr Speaker, thank you for inviting me here tonight.
To the audience – thank you for coming.
Mr Galloway –
I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that you had promised the press that you would “annihilate” me—
[Here Galloway interrupts and accuses me of libelling him for repeating a statement made to the Oxford Student Newspaper:]
Let me make it clear where I stand. This debate is not about whether Israel should withdraw from most of the West Bank upon the signing of a treaty that would guarantee the Jewish and Palestinian nations peace and prosperity within the safe and secure borders of their respective states.
That is a point of consensus in Israel. I believe that the Occupation must end. I am devastated when Israelis are murdered in suicide bombings and rocket attacks; and I am deeply distressed by heavy price that the Palestinians have paid for this conflict, including the tragic loss of innocent life. I want peace and I want it now.
This debate, however, is about whether Israel should withdraw immediately. Overnight. Unilaterally. Without any guarantees from the Palestinians to match such dramatic concessions by calling an end to this century-old conflict. The burden on the proposition today is to make precisely that case.

So this debate is not about who loves justice or freedom more. It’s not about who has suffered more. It’s not about who is good and who is bad, who is right, who is wrong. So let’s not let this debate descend into a parody of itself.
An immediate withdrawal denies Israelis and Palestinians the two essential goods that a peace treaty would secure: firstly, a framework for safety, security and cooperation; secondly, binding promises by each party to irrevocably terminate all claims or states of belligerency against the other. To forego the one chance to sign for peace on the dotted line would leave the region vulnerable, insecure, and in a perpetual state of war.
This is the lesson from the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which I supported – out of the same misguided faith that the cards were in Israel’s hands. Israel uprooted over 8,000 settlers and evacuated the military – but without a pledge from the Palestinians not to fire rockets at Israeli towns over the very border to which Israel had just withdrawn. We wanted peace: we got war. We mustn’t make the same mistake again.
My first point: only a peace treaty can provide a framework for enduring peace and security—
[Here Galloway interrupts for a second time, asking: “You said ‘we’. Are you Israeli?”]
After the debate Aslan-Levy said that "I am appalled that an MP would storm out of a debate with me for no reason other than my heritage.
"To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament."
He's right ... Has there ever been more blatant racism at a British University?

No comments: