Vote 2005

Respect and the race card

George Galloway’s Respect party last night threatened to sue the Labour MP Oona King after she claimed that its canvassers had told Muslim voters not to vote for her because she is Jewish.

In an increasingly bitter battle for the east London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow, Ms King told the Evening Standard: “I have been told by several people that members of Respect have told them not to vote for me because I am Jewish.”

She was speaking the day after attending a memorial service for Jewish war dead at which eggs and vegetables were thrown at mourners.
Respect said it would consider legal action against Ms King if she repeated such “outrageous rubbish”.

As Respect Watch points out – any serious political party would investigate such allegations.

Likewise any party or candidate serious about anti-racism would have made a clear statement condemning the racist attack on Galloway’s opponent and other members of the Jewish community which took place on Monday. Respect has done neither and you have to ask why?

In a rather desperate performance in a BBC Radio debate over the weekend, the Respect candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow made this as a criticism of Oona King’s support for the war in Iraq:

Mr Galloway claimed that Ms King “voted to kill a lot of women in the last few years. Many of them had much darker skins than her”.

I’ve argued for a long time here that Galloway has actually taken up a position on the far-right in politics but I have to admit I never thought he would sink this low. The only question that remains is how many of his supporters are going to follow him into the sewers of race politics?

Hat Tip: Respect Watch.

Update:If any Respect supporters or anyone else wishes the party and George Galloway to make a clear condemnation of the anti-semitic attacks on their opponent on Sunday and make a commitment to keep race out of the election in Bethnal Green they can contact Respect head office via email or phone.

The details are:

Phone 020 8980 3507
Fax 020 8981 5862