At an Oxford University event, British parliamentary member George Galloway shocked attendees when he abruptly stormed out of the room after finding out that his opponent was an Israeli. After realizing the man’s nationality, the politician immediately jumped out of his seat, announced that he had been misled and told those in attendance that he doesn’t debate with citizens of the Jewish state.
“I don’t debate with Israelis. I’ve been misled. Sorry,” he said, with the audience responding in shock.
Next, he got up, grabbed his coat and headed for the door. But before walking out, he again affirmed his stance, saying, “I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”
Galloway had already been speaking for approximately 10 minutes about his view that “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank” when he realized that his opponent is Jewish, the Daily Mail reports.
The incident unfolded as Eylon Aslan-Levy, a third-year student, was responding to the politician’s statements from the podium. When Aslan-Levy used the word “we” to in his description of Israel, Galloway interrupted him and asked if he’s of Jewish decent.
“You said ‘we.’ Are you an Israeli?,” the politician asked.
The student answered affirmatively — and that’s when the situation took its shocking turn.
Watch the footage, below:
Galloway has been defending his actions on Twitter, where his bio describes him as “pro-Palestine, anti-war, pro-equality, anti-Islamophobia.” In a Tweet sent earlier on Thursday, he, again said, “I never debate with Israelis.”
Earlier in the day, when asked directly by a Twitter user why he walked out, he repeated the same sentiment:
While many derided his comments, Galloway shared some supporters’ tweets — messages that accused Israel of apartheid and of occupying others’ lands. You can see the full stream here on his Twitter page.