Strident opponent of Israel running for London mayor


(JTA) — George Galloway, a former British lawmaker who declared his district “an Israel-free zone,” said he will be a candidate for London mayor.

Galloway announced his bid on Sunday night, saying he would run in the election in May to “build a city that benefits everyone, not just those dripping in gold.”

Following the announcement, The Guardian of London reported that he said, “I’m running because I want to represent every piece of the mosaic of this city which I have called home for 35 years.”

Galloway, the leader of the tiny Respect Party known for his strident anti-Israel rhetoric, lost his Parliament seat representing Bradford, in northern England, by a large margin in the May national elections. Declaring his district an Israel-free zone last year included barring Israeli  goods, services, academics and tourists.

“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford even if any of them had thought of doing so,” Galloway said. “We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel — and you have to do the same.”

Galloway also has said Israel should be abolished and replaced with a binational state. He called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas an “American stooge.” He also has organized aid convoys to Gaza in an attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip.

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