As a result of recent statements made by the MP of Bradford West, George Galloway, Daniel Taub, the Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom, decided to visit the region to address the controversy, as well as to gain a better understanding of the general perception of the people. George Galloway, who has long held a stance in opposition to the state of Israel and its policies, stated that Bradford should be an Israel-free zone in a recent speech. Mr. Galloway also added that Bradford should also rid itself of academics, goods and services, and tourism that is associated with the State of Israel. In speaking with the Telegraph and Argus, Daniel Taub declared that the reason for his visit to the area was due to an invitation from religious and community leaders from the area.
While Daniel Taub’s visit to Bradford was short, he stated that his initial impressions upon reaching the region were very different from the sentiments expressed by George Galloway. Mr. Taub also discussed his belief that, while the feelings that were conveyed by Mr. Galloway emanated a feeling of exclusion, the reality of the communities throughout the region suggest feelings of inclusion. The ability for a community consisting of people from different backgrounds, who hold contrasting beliefs, is an important model for Bradford, as well as for Israel, according to Mr. Taub.
Due to George Galloway’s recent comments, which have sparked serious debates online, the British police launched an investigation (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/8833883/Gilad-Shalits-return-is-a-testament-to-Israels-love-of-life.html). Along with George Galloway’s stance on keeping Israel separate from Bradford came allegations that Israel was a barbarous and savage state that operated in illegal activities, which further spurred the need for police action regarding the current climate of the region. Daniel Taub addressed a common belief expressed by George Galloway and his constituents, which is that the problem is between Sunni and Shia. From Mr. Taub’s perspective, this is incorrect thinking, as the problems are one between the future and the past. While the comments of Mr. Galloway have created outcry internationally, it isn’t the first time that he publicly voiced a similar stance, as he once stormed out of a debate, refusing to participate due to the fact that his opponent was of Israeli background. Daniel Taub believes that because there has been a history of productive cooperation between Bradford and Israel, combined with the notion that George Galloway does not represent the true opinions of the people, dialogue can go a long way with assuaging the situation.