George Galloway under fire after Press TV show guest says anyone can 'join fight against Israel'

George Galloway under fire after Press TV show guest says anyone can 'join fight against Israel'
George Galloway hosted a guest who encouraged viewers to join armed groups in Lebanon amid Israel's war on Gaza.
4 min read
08 April, 2024
George Galloway has previously been criticised for his Press TV appearances [Getty/file photo]

Political firebrand and newly-elected MP George Galloway has come under fire after a guest on his show has been accused of encouraging people to join the so-called "axis of resistance" to fight against Israel.

Dr Marwa Osman, a Lebanese activist and broadcaster, said people can join the Muqawama (resistance) and the Saraya Muqawama in Lebanon, as Israel continues to wage a deadly war on Gaza, while also carrying out attacks in Lebanon and Syria.

Speaking on the new show, Have It Out With George Galloway, last month, she said the two groups "accept anyone who would like to come and take part in the fight against Zionist Israel".

The activist did not specify the nationalities of those who could join the groups in Lebanon in her appearance on the show.

"Just as Zionist Israel brought about from all over the world mercenaries to help out in this genocide against our people in Palestine from all over the world, we can also do that, " she said.

"How? Well you have to go the people who are capable of doing that and Lebanon will always welcome whoever wants to fight against Zionist Israel," she added. 

The "axis of resistance" is a term often used to refer to Iran and its allied militias in the Middle East. 

Galloway has previously been criticised for his support for the Iranian government, Russia, and the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Osman, who is Beirut-based, also discussed the UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza which was passed last March, as well as UK arms sales to Israel and the possibility of the UK being complicit in breaching international law in Gaza, where at least 33,207 Palestinians have been killed in the past six months.

She also criticised UK nationals who went to fight with the Israeli army in Gaza.

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A number of other dual citizens of Israel - notably from France - have in recent months joined the Israeli army in order to take part in the brutal onslaught on Gaza.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged near-daily cross-border fire since the war on Gaza broke out on 7 October.

The Israeli army has killed around 330 Lebanese nationals, including 270 Hezbollah fighters and 50 civilians. Journalists have also been killed – including Reuters' Issam Abdallah.

Galloway was criticised by fellow MP Alice Kearns for "hosting a show on the Iranian regime’s propaganda arm." Kearns also accused Osman of "recruiting for a terrorist group".

Galloway defended his show and the comments made, saying that he is "free to air for/by anyone", and that "Iran is not his enemy".

"YOU [Kearns] and your Shadow and the system you BOTH represent are my enemy," he added on X.

Galloway clarified to The Mail on Sunday that Dr Osman was "addressing Arabs in the Arab world, not British people".

The MP made a comeback in politics after he was elected MP for Rochdale in a February by-election in a landslide vote which saw him centre his campaign on the current military onslaught in Gaza.

His position made him appeal to the town’s Muslim voters – who have felt largely neglected by the Labour Party’s pro-Israeli stance on the war.

Galloway heads the Workers Party of Britain, which he founded in 2019.

The politician has also enjoyed a career as a broadcaster, having served as a host on state-affiliated broadcaster Russia Today and London-based Iranian state media outlet Press TV.

His stint on the pro-Iranian outlet has often been criticised. Press TV had its TV license revoked by the UK media regulator Ofcom for airing a 10-second confession by Iranian-Canadian documentary maker Maziar Bahari which was obtained under duress.

Bahari said he was forced to confess after torture to fomenting some of the 2009 Iranian election protests.

The Scottish politician has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause throughout his career, but lost credibility after standing with Bashar al-Assad during the Arab Spring and supporting Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

In 2003, Galloway was ousted from the Labour Party after vocal opposition to the US and UK invasion of Iraq.