In an interview, today, on Winnipeg’s CKUW-FM community radio station, peace and human rights activist George Galloway pledged to spend the proceeds of his lawsuit against the Canadian government to help fund the anti-war movement in this country.
Galloway was interviewed by Jonathan Wilson, co-host of CKUW’s People of Interest program which airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. at 95.9 on the FM dial. You can listen to the program on line, here. The Galloway segment of today’s program is available here.
In March 2009, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney banned Galloway from entering Canada. The impact, according to Galloway, was severe.
“It may well have contributed to my first ever defeat in an election, in May of this year. My opponents ruthlessly pressed the case that I was a terrorist as officially defined by the government of friendly Canada – a country that most people tend to admire and love . . . It was threatening to my personal security because if I had been what Jason Kenney and his office were telling people I was, then there are lots of people around who are ready to physically harm if not eliminate such a person. It forced me to take all manner of personal security precautions.”
The October 31st Federal Court decision that over-turned the ban, has delighted Galloway. “I’m glad that the honourable judge proved what I had said all along, that Canada remains a country governed by laws rather than the whim of here today and gone tomorrow politicians. So I’m very glad to be back.”
When asked to comment on the mandate of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, which this month hosted a conference in Ottawa of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, Galloway was critical.
“Well, it’s all very mysterious. That’s the first point. The Canadian taxpayer paid a pretty penny for this conference, even though they were entirely locked out of it. No media were permitted in it. We have no proper record of who was there. The attendance list even has not been published despite the taxpayer funding the whole thing. And it’s all very mysterious – what it’s all about. And when we’ll see its impact on Canadian public life. But it would be a fair inference that its impact will be malign and that the current assault on free expression on this issue in Canada is going to be intensified as a result of these protocols.
“I don’t think that this kind of secret conclave, coming up with – until now — secret protocols – is going to combat any antisemitism in Canada. As a matter of fact, it’s quite likely to generate greater feelings of enmity, which of course, I would deplore.
“Antisemitism exists. It is a racist phenomenon that has long existed in Christian countries for many, many centuries. Like all forms of racism it must be combated, and combated in the correct way which successfully, hopefully, one day, extinguishes it.
“But the answer to antisemitism is not to stop beating up the Jews and start beating up the Muslims. Instead, the answer is to conduct oneself in an unrelenting campaign against all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred – and that’s what I have done all of my life.
“Insofar as I’ve seen anything from this secret conclave, it attempts something unique in the world – to make Israel the collective Jew. And this, itself, is a racist and therefore antisemitic idea. Israel is not the collective Jew. There is no collective Jew.
“There are huge numbers of Jews who don’t want anything to do with Israel either from religious or secular, progressive standpoints. The population of Israel is not Jewish. There are at least 25 per cent of the population which is not Jewish and no one has the right to collectivize them as Jewish – to do what Lieberman is demanding they do themselves – to sign an oath effectively liquidating their place in the state as first class citizens.
“And of course there are well over two and a half million – in fact, getting on for three million Christians and Muslims living under illegal occupation within the de facto borders of Israel today. And they too cannot be collectivized as Jews by the whim of a secret conclave in Ottawa. So I think it’s all rather disturbing.
“But it raises what we used to call the $64,000 question, which is: Why is Canada doing this? Why has Canada become this monomaniacal supported of the most extreme forms of support for Israel? Why has Canada allowed itself to become effectively an embassy for Netanyahu in the world?
“It’s certainly not in Canada’s interest. I don’t believe it’s in the interests of the Jews of the world. And I don’t even believe it’s in the interests of the State of Israel. And it goes without saying it’s certainly not in the interests of the region as a whole and peace in the world.”
Canada in Afghanistan
Galloway was asked about Canada’s role in Afghanistan now that the Harper government has announced troops will be staying until 2014 in a training capacity.
“Well I wondering when the people of Canada are going to ask how come these Afghans need so much training. That’s 10 years of training with no noticeable improvement in theatre. No one is training these Taliban and they seem to be doing remarkably well, so I’m wondering just how long you are going to keep on using your tax dollars and risk the blood of your sons in order to “train” the armed forces of a corrupt and discredited administration of Hamid Karzai.
“Second, I don’t think you should fool yourself that the Afghans resisting foreign occupation regard these soldiers as only trainers. In fact, any foreigner who is participating in the occupation of Afghanistan is, in fact, in a very life-threatening, endangered situation. And I pray that you don’t add to the very considerable death toll amongst Canadian soldiers that you already have, because I don’t believe that Hamid Karzai’s administration is worth another drop of Canadian blood, or anyone else’s blood for that matter.
“So I think it’s a very serious mistake. Again, it’s done for political reasons, to continue to provide cover for the war, so as not to add to the run on the credibility bank which is already underway in the world about this war – and I very much hope that Canada doesn’t pay a further price for this.”