Yesterday, a few stories began circulating, claiming that George Galloway had condemned the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
As far as I can tell, the stories were based on the following clip.
The audio obviously did not refer to Bin Laden. Indeed, the video title simply refers to the “assassination”. The poster of the clip specialises in spoofs and parodies of George Galloway – another clue! As any seasoned Galloway-watcher would have spotted this was a repackaging of remarks Galloway had made more than a year ago on his radio show about an assassination of a different terrorist. He was, of course, talking about Israel’s assassination of a Hamas terrorist arms buyer in Dubai. (Listen to the original here, from about 4.50.)
The Jewish Chronicle briefly appears to have been taken in by the hoax. However, when they contacted Mr Galloway’s office for comment, they were told the matter was with his lawyers and that YouTube had been asked to remove the clip. The lawyers would certainly have a strong libel case if it could be shown that the fabrication grossly distorted their clients views.
But it is hard to see how they might construct this case. Galloway remarks on the show included the following:
“Well of course we’re against the extrajudicial killings of anyone, anywhere. No state that carries them out can remotely be described as democratic… It is always illegitimate to kill someone in someone else’s country… They could have kidnapped him and taken him for trial, couldn’t they?”
Galloway is, of course, talking about Israel’s conduct. However, he takes great care to present his opposition to the assassination if it were a general moral position. In that manner, Galloway can avoid the accusation that he singles Israel out for special treatment. Therefore, if he is consistent, you would expect Galloway to be against the killing of Bin Laden.
But it seems to me he is singling out Israel for special treatment after all. In an article published yesterday on Socialist Unity, Galloway reminds us of his stated views on Osama Bin Laden:
“I despise Osama Bin Laden, the mediaeval obscurantist savage.”
Galloway makes no moral condemnation of the US action. He does not describe it as “cold blooded murder” (as he did in Israel’s case) and appears quite upbeat about it:
“As he [Bin Laden] had lived, by the sword, so he perished and could have had no complaints at being gunned down by Americans having inspired the slaughter of so many of them.”
So, Galloway thinks that suggesting he’s against killing Bin Laden is a libel. He writes a cheery article about Bin Laden getting “zapped”. I can’t help but draw the conclusion that, in fact, Galloway (a) holds Israel up to special standards which he doesn’t apply to other nations and (b) employs universalist language when condemning Israel, in a manner which is far from sincere.
When put to the test, Galloway’s use of universal morality is cynical and selective. Unsurprisingly – that is typical of much of the far Left’s approach to Israel.