George Galloway has said Hamas are not tyrants and defended elections in Iran during a lecture about the fall of dictatorships.
Speaking to LSE students on Monday, the former Respect MP called Israel an “apartheid” state and compared scenes in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead to those in the Second World War.
He described Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2009 as a “savage assault on a captive people so ferocious that not since the Second World War are we seen anything like it.
He praised the Palestinian elections in 2006 which saw Hamas elected as the “only free and fair election” in the Arab world.
“Hamas won the only democratic election ever held in the Arab world so how they can be tyrants I really don’t know,” he said. “I am not in favour of Hamas but I am in favour of democracy.
“There are many things wrong with Iran. One thing they do have is elections. They elected a president that you or I might not have voted for but I am in no doubt that Ahmadinejad won the presidential election. He won it because he appeals to the poorest workers, peasants, the most religious sectors of the Iranian population.”
He denied giving money to Hamas despite video footage showing him handing bags of cash to leaders.
He was questioned about video footage during a Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza in 2009 where he is seen saying: “We carried a lot of cash here. We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all the contents. We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics. The government of Palestine is the best people where this money is needed.”
But on Monday he said: “I did not give bags of cash to Hamas. I gave money, ambulances, wheelchairs, medicine, food, children’s clothes, teddy bears to the 1.6 million Palestinian people under siege in Gaza.”
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