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by Rhonda Spivak



Viva Palestina leader and former British MP who was expelled from the British Labour Party George Galloway, will be speaking in Winnipeg on Friday November 26, 2010 at the Broadway Disciples United Church, 394 Broadway at Kennedy.
As of  Thursday November 25, the website of Peace Alliance, the sponsoring group for Galloway indicted that one of the groups endorsing Galloway is the NDP Brandon’s Women’s Association.

Other organizations endorsing Galloway according to the website include Independent Jewish Voices (Winnipeg), The Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies (University of Winnipeg), and the Uniter. National sponsors of his Canada wide tour include the Canadian Arab federation, and Independent Jewish Voices.

For easy reference, the video at the very end of this article shows some of Galloway’ highly controversial remarks.
“I personally am about to break the sanctions,” Gallloway declared at a Gaza press conference he held with terrorist group Hamas. “We carried a lot of cash here … and we make no apology.”
On live TV, he handed wads of cash to Ismail Haniyeh, the senior political leader of Hamas, who he referred to as the “President of Palestine”.
“This is not charity,” he clarified. “This is politics.”
He also said [as can be seen at the video at the bottom of this article], after giving the money, “one day we [ the Palestinians] can return to our country” [presumably referring to returning to within pre-67 Israel] and that “we can drive them away” [presumably referring to the Jews /or Israelis].
Galloway maintains that he hasn’t supported Hamas, but rather has been bringing humanitarian aid to war-torn Gaza.
In an interview in The Mark, on October 8, 2010 Bernie Farber, CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress was asked how Galloway’s involvement supported terrorism.
Farber referred to Galloway taking “a fistful of cash” and handing it to Ismail Haniyeh, who is the head of Hamas, and said: What happens to that money? Well, Galloway will tell us that it goes to humanitarian purposes. I would tell you that he’s handing money to a criminal organization who’s not giving him a receipt, and saying “Here’s 50 bucks for band-aids, and another 1,000 dollars for stretchers.” Why is it not possible that [the] same [money] can go to purchasing Katyusha rockets and arms?
When asked why the MNDP Brandon Women’s Association has endorsed Galloway, Christine Melnick, Minister for Water Stewardship, responded in email correspondence:
“It is important to know that this issue was not brought before Greg Selinger, the Leader of Manitoba the New Democratic Party nor the Manitoba NDP Provincial Council.  This action is neither sanctioned nor endorsed by either the Premier or the Manitoba NDP. The NDP Brandon Women’s Association does not represent the Manitoba NDP on this issue.”
"I believe that the actions of this NDP government speak of the commitment to peace in the Middle East, by supporting the two state solution and of our friendship towards the State of Israel and the Manitoba Jewish community.  This fall, before embarking on a very productive mission with the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, Premier Selinger appointed Mel Lazareck Special Representative for Manitoba to Israel for Economic and Community Relations. This is, I understand, the first time in the history of the Canada that such an appointment has been made by a province.  While in Israel, Premier Selinger officially opened the Playground for Peace, which is located on the grounds of the Arab-Jewish Community Centre in Jaffa, expressing the wish for all children, Arab, Jewish and others, to come and play in safety and friendship.
“Following that the Premier signed an MOU on Birding and Guiding with Dr. Yossi Leshem, who has established strong partnerships with Jordanian and Palestinian partners based on the belief that Birds are the Path to Peace.  In addition, MOU's were signed between Manitoba and the State of Israel on clean water technology, agriculture and a Sister Marshs MOU was signed by Efi Stenzler, World Chair of the JNF and myself, as Minister of Water Stewardship, linking Manitoba's Oak Hammock and Israel's Hula Valley marshes.  The Manitoba NDP, like so many in this world, dream of peace in the Middle East and are wanting to help that happen in any way that we can.”
Melnick added, "I want to ensure people that the Manitoba NDP is taking this incident very seriously and are already looking into the matter." 
The Winnipeg Jewish Review also spoke to Colleen Semore, who is the President of the NDP Women’s Association and asked her the Brandon NDP Women’s Association had endorsed Galloway.
She responded by saying that in 1997 there was a demonstration supporting Israel and “there were four NDP [provincial]cabinet Ministers there. She said shortly thereafter there was a demonstration for Palestinians “and there were no NDP Cabinet Ministers.” Semore said that she wrote a letter to then NDP Premier Gary Doer and complained that “the government shouldn’t show a preference” and she never got an answer back from Premier Doer. She said she did not want to “release the letter” to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.  She said as a result, that she and the NDP Women’s Association of Brandon had decided to endorse Galloway, and contributed $50.00 to his speaking event in Winnipeg.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.