A dozen “Israeli tourists” made a pilgrimage to Bradford this weekend, after local MP George Galloway declared the city in Yorkshire, England an “Israel-free zone.” Galloway called for Bradford residents to boycott Israeli products, academics, and even tourists. “We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”
In response, several British citizens with Israeli passports led a small contingent of Israel is in spending a weekend in the city.
Bradford’s Canon Guy Wilkinson, vicar for the Anglican parish of St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields and Area Dean of Hammersmith and Fulham in London, gathered 4,100 for an online petition calling for Galloway to be prosecuted. “It was a thoroughly disgraceful thing for him to say that Israeli people were no longer welcome in Bradford. Bradford … needs to build on the reputation that it welcomes all people.” Dr. Irene Lancaster of Salford’s Broughton Park Jewish Christian Dialogue Group also condemned Galloway. “He is demonizing a whole people. I don’t know if I want to go to Bradford anymore. I’m scared to go there.”
Prior to his “Israel-free zone” proclamation, Galloway took the microphone at an anti-Israel rally in Hyde Park, telling a crowd of tens of thousands that “The entire State of Israel is a completely illegitimate enterprise. It was founded on somebody else’s land. It’s simple… so far as what they call Israel is concerned… No recognition. No normalization. Just boycott, boycott, boycott,” he said.