'George Galloway Humiliated Me', Says Israel Debate At Oxford Organiser Mahmood Naji (EXCLUSIVE)

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GEORGE GALLOWAY
The student responsible for organising the Israel debate has written an open letter to George Galloway | PA

The Oxford University student responsible for organising an Israel debate has said he was "left humiliated" after George Galloway stormed out, The Huffington Post UK can reveal.

In an open letter to the Respect MP, medical student Mahmood Naji refuted claims he had "misled" Galloway.

"It has not escaped my attention that, since discourteously walking out on an event I had spent much time and effort organising, you have been claiming repeatedly that I had "misled" and "deceived" you," the Christ Church college student writes.

Galloway controversially walked out of the debate telling his opponent "I don't debate with Israelis". The Bradford West MP was speaking at an event organised by Christ Church college in favour of the motion "Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank". Less than three minutes into a speech from Oxford student Eylon Aslan-Levy's, Galloway interrupted, asking "You said we. Are you an Israeli?"

Third year student Aslan-Levy answered "I am, yes." Galloway promptly stood up and replied: "I don't debate with Israelis, I've been misled, sorry."

Galloway's exit, which was met by gasps from the audience, was captured on film. As Galloway left the room, a member of the audience can be heard shouting "racism", to which the MP replied: "I don't recognise Israel and I don't debate with Israelis."

George Galloway's swift exit was caught on film by a member of the debate audience

Now, after Galloway's repeated complaints he was "deceived", debate organiser Naji has spoken out to set the record straight.

"I was not intending on replying until I saw you once again attempt to, in my opinion, slander me on Press TV," Naji writes in his open letter. "

"But let's look at the facts. Fortunately, all my correspondences with your secretary are saved in my inbox so we can refer to this record while scrutinising your allegation."

Galloway's secretary sent Naji an email which read: "Once again many thanks for your prompt reply.

"The event shall now be entered into George Galloway MPs diary for: Wednesday 20th February 2013 at 7PM.

"Can I request to things the first being the event duration does not exceed 1hour and 30minutes? as George Galloway MP will be commuting by car to London immediately after and also please can you provide a contact number for yourself?

"I look forward to receiving your email with the confirmed opponents at your earliest convenience."

Naji responded, writing:

"I can confirm that the venue for the debate will be the Blue Boar Lecture Theatre in Christ Church.

"Mr Galloway's opponent will be a student called Eylon Aslan-Levy. He is a final-year undergraduate at Brasenose College, reading philosophy, politics and economics.

"He has debated internationally for Oxford, including in Ireland, Serbia and Israel, and was the winner of the Mediterranean Universities Debating Championship in Istanbul in 2012. He delivered a paper speech in the Oxford Union debate on the Middle East in 2011."

"I propose that that the title of the debate be: "Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank". If Mr. Galloway has any preferences or would like to make some alterations to the title, he is free to do so.

"Again Mr. Galloway is welcome to tweak the format as he sees fit."

To which Galloway's secretary replied: "Dear Mahmood, I hope this email finds you well. Apologies for the delayed response. I'm pleased to learn that George Galloway MP is happy with the venue, title, and format."

Naji says his email was the only time Eylon was mentioned by both himself and Galloway's secretary.

"It is strange that someone who takes such a hard-line view on debating Israelis should omit to ask whether or not his Jewish, pro-Israeli opponent, who has debated in Israel, is in fact Israeli," he continues. "Your secretary did not go on to ask me about Eylon's nationality."

"As the organiser... Should I let you know if your opponent is a vegetarian in case you have a policy of not debating vegetarians? Am I misleading you if I do not tell you your opponent's shoe size?

"Think hard about the absurdity of your position. In none of the previous debates I had organised did it even occur to me to inform the debaters of their opponents' nationalities. This particular debate was no different."

Naji says he had been "looking forward" to hearing Galloway's views and seeing the MP present his case for Palestine.

"Instead," the student writes, "I was left humiliated in front of a room full of people who had waited an hour and a half for your arrival, only to be subsequently accused of being deceptive and misleading."

Last week, Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, told HuffPost UK: "It is pretty pathetic that George Galloway walked out of the debate when he found out that another speaker was Israeli.

"Mr Galloway didn't even care what the views being expressed were, just the nationality of the speaker. He completely failed to give the respect that was deserved."

The incident comes days before students at the prestigious university are due to vote on a controversial motion to boycott Israel.

The student union (OUSU) will meet on Wednesday to decide whether it will be supporting the boycott. Both the proposer and seconder of the motion have received threatening emails, resulting in the seconder withdrawing their support, the Guardian reports.

Galloway's office has been contacted for comment but has yet to reply.

SEE ALSO:

WATCH: George Galloway Storms Out On Israeli Student During Oxford University Debate

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