Two statements from leading Stoppers:
Andrew Murray, Chairman of the Stop the War Coalition writes: Calls for the destruction of Israel or any suggestion of welcoming the deaths of Israeli civilians in the present conflict are, of course, unacceptable. Not only wrong in principle, they also entirely miss the point that the authors of the present catastrophe are to be found in Washington and London above all.
Likewise, there can be no question of this rapidly-extending movement developing as a support group for Hizbullah. Such a position would be a diversion from our own political responsibilities, of which winning the demand for a ceasefire is the most important, and do nothing to offer real assistance to those suffering from the Israeli aggression.
George Galloway (Vice-President, Stop the War Coalition): I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
So is there a split in the ranks between pro-Hizbollah Gallowayites and more moderate Murrayites?
I’d say no – there is simply a difference over tactics.
For Murray, supporting Hizbollah is a ‘diversion’ from the call for a ceasefire. He’s not about to condemn the terrorists and in the same article he says:
Of course, it would be absolutely wrong to suggest that there is a political equivalence between Israel’s Bush-inspired war in Lebanon and the resistance against it. Those resisting aggression have a right to do so.
In other words – it’s not our job to cheerlead Hizbollah because that doesn’t really help them. They don’t need cheerleaders – they need an ‘anti-war movement’ which acknowledges their ‘resistance against aggression’ but doesn’t alienate people by being publicly pro-terror. So it’s not an anti-Hizbullah stance from Murray – he represents just a smarter, more deceptive, way of supporting ‘resistance’.
Galloway’s pro-Hizbollah position may be a genuine reflection of his political sympathies (although I suspect he is still more of a Fatah man at heart) but the reason for his decision to glorify Nasrallah was spotted by many of you straight away – he simply wanted to be arrested for ‘glorifying terrorism’ and to become a martyr.
How he would have loved an international ‘Free George Galloway campaign’. I bet he had already started imagining his triumphant tour of the Middle East following his release – the masses carrying him through the Arab street and chanting his name. Thankfully, no-one was stupid enough to grant him his wish.
In terms of ideas, both Murray and Galloway regard Islamist terrorism as ‘resistance’. If there is a split in the STWC leadership it comes down to a division between a rather dull old-school communist thinking strategy and an egomaniac thinking publicity.