He defends dictators, purrs like a cat on international television, and isn’t terribly fond of the Jews. George Galloway, a member of British parliament who represents Bradford West, is famous for a great many things. His latest brush with stardom came Thursday when he declared an “Israel-free zone.” Here are some of the big-talking parliamentarian’s most outlandish moments.
The Time He Meowed on National TV
Galloway appeared on the popular reality television series Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, during which he participated in an improvisational segment in which he mimicked drinking milk out of the hands of another housemate—actress Rula Lenska—like a cat. Keep in mind, while watching the video that Galloway was already a member of Parliament at the time.
“So I spoke to him in cat language and he responded in a catty nature of some sort,” Lenska said before the politician began to purr and lick her palms, while on all fours. She calls Galloway “good pussycat” as he buries his balding head in her hands, ferociously moving it back and forth like a weird feline in heat.
The Time He Insisted That Women Don’t Need to Be Asked Before Penetration
In 2012, George Galloway claimed that having sex with a woman while she is asleep is not considered rape.
During one of his video podcasts entitled “Good Night with George Galloway,” the firebrand buffoon, Galloway defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, under investigation at the time for the alleged rape of two Swedish women. , by saying the following:
"Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape,” Galloway claimed. “At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognize it. And somebody has to say this.”
It only gets worse from there.
“Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”
Galloway’s comments call to mind another politician who has tried to wax poetic on what can be defined as rape.
During a 2008 segment on the show The Wright Stuff, George Galloway offered his revelatory insight on the execution of the boyfriend of gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi.
“All the papers seem to imply that you get executed in Iran for being gay,” Galloway said. “That’s not true.”
Except it is. Some 4,000 homosexuals were executed in Iran between 1980 and 1999, with executions happening as recently as 2013.
According to a 2013 report from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Iranian law has only recently made distinctions between what they refer to as “active” and “passive” partners involved in sodomy. A “passive” partner, if convicted, will be sentenced to death no matter his marital status, while an “active” partner will be sentenced to death only if he is married. If unmarried and convicted, the “active” partner will receive 100 lashes.
“The insinuation of [Galloway’s] claim is that Mehdi’s boyfriend was a rapist or a child sex abuser,” Peter Tatchell wrote in The Guardian at the time. “It also stigmatises Mehdi with the shame that he was the partner of someone who committed sexual assaults on male youths.”
The Time He Made Some Bold Claims About Former President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler
In an interview with Al-Jazeera in 2005, Galloway made some bold claims about former president Bush and former prime minister Tony Blair, in relation to the Iraq war.
“Bush, and Blair, and the prime minister of Japan, and Berlusconi, these people are criminals, and they are responsible for mass murder in the world, for the war, and for the occupation, through their support for Israel, and through their support for a globalized capitalist economic system, which is the biggest killer the world has ever known,” Galloway said. “It has killed far more people than Adolf Hitler. It has killed far more people than George Bush. The economic system which these people support, which leaves most of the people in the world hungry, and without clean water to drink. So we’re going to put them on trial, the leaders, when they come. They think they’re coming for a holiday in a beautiful country called Scotland; in fact, they’re coming to their trial.”
The Time He Said England Was With Saddam Hussein “Until Victory”
Saddam Hussein already had a pretty nasty reputation by 1994, around the time when Galloway allegedly praised him and said the Iraqi leader had England’s undying support.
“Your excellency, Mr. President, I greet you in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq and continue to oppose the war by economic means, which is aimed to strangle the life out of the great people of Iraq… I greet you too in the name of the Palestinian people… I thought the president would appreciate to know that even today, three years after the war, I still meet families who are calling their newborn sons Saddam,” Galloway said to Hussein. “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem.”
The Time He Called Bashar al-Assad a “Breath of Fresh Air”
Bashar al-Assad is internationally demonized for his tyrannical reign in Syria, responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians. In 2005, Galloway called Assad a “breath of fresh air” after years of dictatorial regimes in the country.
At the time, Syria was already facing international scrutiny for allowing militants to enter Iraq, to which the United States responded by imposing economic sanctions. He was later quoted as saying: “Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her President.”
The Time He Refused to Talk About His Issues with an Israeli Student
Galloway infamously walked out of a 2013 debate at Oxford University after learning that one of the participants, Eylon Aslan-Levy, was an Israeli citizen.
“I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry,” Galloway said as he got up to leave. “I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”
He later doubled down on his remarks when asked why he wouldn’t debate the student, saying in a tweet: “No recognition of Israel. No normalisation. Christ Church never informed us the debate would be with an Israeli.”
Galloway has been a long time supporter of Palestine and his comments today have elicited an investigation by the West Yorkshire Police. Ron McKay, a spokesman for Galloway, said that the controversial parliamentary member sees no issue with his comments.
“George stands by the comments—he thinks they are quite reasonable,” McKay said.