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An Open Letter to George Galloway

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GEORGE GALLOWAY
PA

Dear Mr 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. I was not intending on replying until I saw you once again attempt to, in my opinion, slander me on Press TV.

In that broadcast you claimed, "... I was deceived; I was not told by the Iraqi, Muslim organiser of the event, that I would be debating against a 20-year old Israeli...". 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. Here is what I told your secretary about your opponent:

"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."

Note, this was the only time Eylon was mentioned, in the entire thread, either by your secretary or I. 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. Your secretary did not go on to ask me about Eylon's nationality - indeed I did not know until the debate that Eylon is an Israeli - and even had I known Eylon's nationality, I was not aware of your staunch (and damaging) stance of boycotting Israeli individuals.

As the organiser, am I to know about every one of your views? 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.

Please know that I had been looking forward to seeing you put forward the case for Palestine and the Palestinian people. Instead 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. Does that seem fair to you Mr. Galloway?

Yours sincerely,

Mahmood (the Iraqi Muslim)

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