The Canadian government’s recent decision to prevent the odious British MP George Galloway from entering the country has prompted a storm of criticism, mainly from Canadian editors that find Galloway’s pro-jihad views despicable, but nevertheless think his freedom of speech is being violated.
Tom Oleson of the Winnipeg Free Press, for instance, writes in a column entitled “Canada is bigger than this,” “[E]ven though Galloway is a foolish and hateful man who preaches foolish and hateful things, that is not enough reason to bar him from speaking in Canada.” And in an early blog post reacting to the controversy, the National Post’s Jonathan Kaye wrote, “A better solution would have been to let the guy in, but then have police on hand to apprehend him as soon as he violated Canada’s anti-terror laws — say, by fund raising for a banned terrorist group (something he’s done before).”
It’s something he’s done again. Indeed, it wasn’t Galloway’s “preaching” that got him barred from Canada; it was his self-confessed financing of Hamas, which, according to Canadian law, is very much a terrorist group.
Galloway, who was due to deliver a speech at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto on March 30, was denied an entry permit by Canadian border security agents associated with the Ministry of Public Safety. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a foreigner who has “engag[ed] in terrorism” may be deemed a security threat and prohibited from traveling to Canada.
Galloway has vowed to appeal the decision, and this week he told an audience at Columbia University in New York — he’s still persona grata in the United States — “I have not now, nor have I ever been a supporter of Hamas.” However, Galloway’s deeds in the Palestinian territories earlier in the month prove otherwise. He took a much-publicized trip to Gaza as part of a convoy coordinated by Viva Palestina, a so-called “charity” that was formed in protest to the Israeli assault on Hamas in February. While there, Galloway publicly handed over more than £1.5 million in cash, vehicles, and other goods to Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas and the elected prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.
This Al Jazeera clip, reproduced by the Middle East Media Research Institute, shows Galloway handing over the money and telling his hosts:
We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all of the contents, and we make no apology for what I am about to say: We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine. Just in case the British government or the European Union want to face me in any court, let me tell them live on television: I personally am about to break the sanctions on the elected government of Palestine. Many of my friends have to give their cash to charities. By Allah, we carried a lot of cash here. You thought we were all fat. We are not fat. This is money that we have around our waists. And we have to give this. … Some of my friends have to give this money to charities, and they will do this in private later this evening, because they need receipts and it’s not practical to do it here.
But I, now, here, on behalf of myself, my sister Yvonne Ridley, and the two Respect councillors — Muhammad Ishtiaq and Naim Khan — are giving three cars and 25,000 pounds in cash to Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics. The government of Palestine is the best people where this money is needed. We are giving this money now to the government of Palestine. If I could, I would give them 10 times, 100 times more. We are against this siege. We are opposing this siege. We are breaking this siege. We are breaking this siege.
I am saying now to the British and European governments: If you want to take me to court, I promise you, there is no jury in all of Britain who will convict me. They will convict you for the siege of the Palestinian people. Revolution until victory! Revolution until victory! Revolution until victory! Viva, viva! There’s more money coming in from my friends. Viva viva, Palestine!
There is every chance that his flamboyant challenge to British authorities will be met and that he will be prosecuted back home for providing material aid to a terrorist organization, because that’s what Whitehall also considers Hamas. Viva Palestina is already under investigation by the British Charity Commission for failing to provide the necessary documents that detail its purpose, its fund raising activities, and the actual recipients of its largesse.