Howling Before Thinking

There is no evidence that a recent attack sustained by George Galloway at the hands of a "pro-Israel fanatic”, shouting about the Holocaust, is linked to a campaign to have the Bradford West MP arrested. What there is clear evidence of is that both the attack and the online petition demanding his prosecution draw from the same well, the water with which they seek to douse his fiery and vociferous objections to Israeli terrorism.

During the assault in London's Notting Hill Gate the goonda, named as Neil Masterson, inflicted on Galloway ‘a dislocated jaw, quite bad head injuries, and very badly cracked ribs.' Free speech is never free. There is always a price.

The crucial distinction that Norman Finkelstein has drawn seems applicable here. The Holocaust howler who attacked Galloway was likely not concerned with the Nazi Holocaust per se, and was primarily determined to use the Holocaust as an ideological baton for battering into submission opposition to the Holocaust type war crimes such as child massacre perpetrated by Israel. 

Galloway illustrated this somewhat with an observation about his attacker that:
his Facebook that morning contained his words that he would like to cut my throat. A man who says he’d like to cut your throat and then dresses for the occasion in an Israel Defense Force T-shirt and ends up on the street near where you live, has probably a serious intention to do you harm.
It might just have escaped the assailant that his actions have helped blur even further any fading distinction between an IDF T-shirt and a Nazi brown shirt.

Early last month when the Israeli war on Gaza was going full throttle, Galloway made the following statement:
We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone ... We don't want any Israeli goods, we don't want any Israeli services, we don't want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don't even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so ... We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.
Even if there are elements of this statement that jar with our sensibilities, because there are Israeli academics and tourists who are opposed to their government’s war crimes, it is a minimal inconvenience to live with in order to offset the maximum inconvenience to freedom of expression caused by any attempt to police such comments. Galloway being pursued by a posse of muzzle merchants, purposely ganged up to lobby for his prosecution, is simply one more example of civil liberties being savaged by the hush hounds.

After the Galloway polemic a "verboten" mob organised an online petition calling for the MP to be hauled before the courts:
We, the undersigned, submit that these comments step way beyond the boundaries of free expression and legitimate debate and their only purpose was to cause harassment, alarm or distress to a specific group of people. We further submit that this offence is a racially aggravated one ... We further submit that the facts constitute a prima facie case against Mr Galloway and at this stage there is sufficient evidence to charge him and put him before the courts.
Amongst those signing the petition out of horror at Galloway were people who have loudly being applauding the war crimes of Israel. No consideration that this was infinitely more aggressive in terms of expanding the boundaries of free speech than anything Galloway said. Ultimately, all he was calling for, albeit stridently, was a campaign of widespread civil defiance of Israel, demanding that people show their abhorrence of Israel’s crimes against humanity.  Another person doing likewise in any country in the world during the Nazi Holocaust and calling for a total boycott and ostracism of Germans would be championed by the petitioners.

What have the posse to say about the attack on Galloway? The MP has explained it succinctly.
It seems very strange. They are always telling us how much they hate violence and terrorism, how much they believe in the rule of law, free speech and democracy. But when it came to the attack on me their lips were sealed.
Their lips were sealed surely, and now they want Galloway's sealed as well.

George Galloway's discourse on Gaza makes him a public asset while the muzzle mob in its endeavours to stupefy the public is a liability. Time these people were forced to quit howling about the Holocaust and start thinking about it so that anything that remotely resembles it can be stopped in its panzer tracks.


  1. Free speech doesn't exist, you can say what you like until it interferes with business, then you are a hate criminal. Anthony did you ever think your former comrades would hound you out your city for speaking your mind. You say something that challenges the powers that be, then you are labeled every kind of slanderous, outrageous, nonsensical insults. Free speech, like freedom is an illusion.

  2. David,

    hounded out of Belfast has become something of an urban myth by now even though there is no real basis to it. By the time we had left the pressure had decreased considerably. But the Provisional Movement was always a great believer in Section 31. A lot of energy was put into suppressing discussion.

  3. Anthony,
    Sorry for being melodramatic. You know what i mean, you dare to speak out against against the status quo and your vilified. It is a global problem and not one confined to the six counties. Free speech exists only in measured tones. You cross a line and they intimidate you, hound you, cast aspersions and in some cases stiff you. Take Dr Kelly, I am convinced he was stiffed, George Galloway is another who suffers constant threats for speaking his mind, although I don't think he is enough of a threat to them to be in any real danger.

  4. David,

    I didn't think you were being melodramatic, merely stating what so many think to be the case. I see it said so often I for the most part have given up even correcting it.

    I found that once they started decommissioning, more of their people on the ground began to acknowledge that I might have had a point and eased up on the hostility a bit. Many of them if on their own would say hello or nod but if in company give me a wide berth. Funerals were always interesting because the ostracism was intense at them. Myself and Marian Price at Jimmy Drumm's funeral very deliberately placed ourselves 10 yards down from the church exit so that they had to pass us behind the coffin. There were 2,000 at it many of them civil enough to me elsewhere. Only one person spoke to me and one to Marian. People were crossing to the other side of the road to avoid having to snub me or being caught saying hello: people whose homes I had been in just prior to it included in their number. It was surreal. The anonymous pressure of the group created its own pressure. Fact is as has been pointed out people are more afraid of being isolated than they are of being wrong.

    The biggest aid in being able to speak freely is to be indifferent to their disapproval. Once you relinquish any hankering for that they lose a serious point of pressure.

    There is a saying that if people want to speak the truth they are best advised to do so anonymously or posthumously. I guess it is why some people use pseudonyms. While I would never use one I don't have a problem with those that do if they use them to spread an idea and don't hide behind them to smear.

  5. As for Galloway, what he said about Britain was once said about Sweden before Palme and then Lindh got killed. I actually do think he takes a considerable risk and it could be costly for him. Much of what he says I disagree with but many times he does provide great clarity. I think both he and David Norris have pulled together the strands of, and crystallised so lucidly, the critique of Israeli terror that we owe them.

    I just happen to believe it is crucial to speak out in defence of him so that no matter how insignificant our contribution he is not left isolated when thugs might consider attacking him. They need to know that others will come behind him.

  6. David, I also don't think you presented as melodramatic. In so many situations nowadays we have to edit ourselves to the extent that we become a watered down version of ourselves - if we want to fit in and be accepted, that is. This is why i enjoy TPQ so much, it's truly liberating to read all these genuine opinions, and also to simply be able to say what you think and reply without fear of ostracism.

    Re George Galloway, i haven't quite made up my mind about him yet (i'm a slow thinker) but whatever he wants to say he should have the right to say it without fear of being beaten up and attacked. What happened to him is just disgraceful.

    Anthony, i was at Dolours Price's funeral. The atmosphere outside St Agnes' was as dark and heavy as a winter sky in Donegal, but it was nothing to do with the weather that day.

  7. Sarah,

    I was at the funeral of Dolours too. She was my son's godmother and he attended also. I don't think I can remember a wetter funeral.

  8. Anthony,
    I don't know who Palm and Lindh are if i am being honest, so i have to do a bit of research there. Concerning Galloway he does excellent work highlighting Israeli terrorism. I admire him for that. On other issues he is a bit of a system server, Although a Scot from Irish background he opposes independence. He has called for more power before for that den of iniquity, the houses of parliament and has no problem with the current set up would just prefer his ideology at the helm. I saw him speak at an Irish festival in Scotland and he spoke of his Irish republican background, when i pointed out he was part of the British government while abuses in the six counties were taking place, he responded by saying him and others fought very hard to highlight the abuses. When i tried to push him further he dazzled the audience with a rhetoric filled speech which produced a standing ovation. He is a very clever men while i believe him sincere in his passion for Palestine on other subjects on i find him a crowd pleaser.

  9. David,

    Palme was the Swedish Prime Minister and Lindh was a government minister: both killed at different times.

    George Galloway has views I would find wholly objectionable. I think the Respect Party is home to what Tony Cliff called clerical fascism. I think he is a Stalinist. There is so much I would disagree with him over. But he has to be free from threat when he seeks to express an opinion.

    He might be a crowd pleaser in some cases but in others he enrages the crowd to the point where they want to lynch him.

    He is not a nationalist and probably sees little advantage for the Scots in having an independent Tory type Scotland. I don't know. But there are things in the world that are valued over and above nationalism.

    At the heel of the hunt what annoys me is the notion that he cannot express an opinion without some thug battering him for it and clothing himself in the Holocaust to legitimise his brutal actions.

  10. David,

    The first time I heard about Olof Palme was in these articles written by 'Anonymous'

    Part 1 can be read here but the Palme incident is in Part 2

    I don't know if any or all is true... make your own minds up..

    Hayward's assignment was to expose the stockpiling of Libyan weapons in the Republic by means of Hegarty's arrest while leading another series of so-called shoot-to-kill murders to meet the alleged PIRA threat which would give him a believable alibi for triggering the showdown with the Soviets, the shooting to Swedish statsminister Olof Palme in Stockholm at the end of February 1986. Hayward saw to it that McMichael and Stone disposed of joiner Kevin McPolin in Lisburn as the new campaign commenced. Then he apparently led the drawn-out assassination of arms mover Francis Bradley on February 18, 1986, one so outrageous that it was being hotly debated in the press when Palme was murdered. Hayward had been actively sizing up Bradley for the shooting, even having his picture taken in military battlegear outside McVeys' cafe in Magherafelt during the process, ever since unknown parties had shot up the Castledawson Police Station on December 9, 1985.

    While the shooting of Palme, apparently by Hayward while reassessing the performance of his bodyguards, went off without a hitch, the problems with the South Detachment's Ops Officer only increased for British officials as the Swedish police failed to find a suspect for the shooting, thanks particularly to SIS's false leads. Jo Thomas of The New York Times published a belated story of the recent killings in the province, especially Bradley's, to keep Hayward's alibi going, and he added to it by helping entice Seamus McElwaine from across the border two months later, in the hope of catching the long sought-after James Lynagh, resulting in McElwain's execution, and Sean Lynch's wounding.

  11. I hope this now leads George to re-evaluate his relationship with the thuggish UAF, who also visit violence on those whom they disagree with politically.

  12. Anthony, Your 100 per cent. People should be allowed to pose questions, have beliefs without being open to threat. It just goes back to what I was saying earlier free speech is an illusion.