Galloway (L) with Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh
Galloway (L) with Hamas leader Ismael HaniyehFlash 90

The BBC has been accused of "race-baiting" for inviting radical anti-Israel MP George Galloway to appear at a high-profile show hosted in Finchley and Golders Green, which is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK.

"Question Time" sees commentators and political figures take part in a panel discussion on hot political topics, as well as fielding questions from members of the audience. Each episode is filmed in different locations around the country to allow different communities to take part.

But the decision to invite Galloway of all people to the upcoming showing - which will be based in a neighborhood with such a large Jewish population - has left some British Jews seething.

As leader of the far-left Respect Party, Galloway has been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism for incendiary remarks and vocal opposition to any Jewish right to self-determination in Israel.

Galloway most recently hit headlines after declaring his constituency an "Israel-free zone", prompting charges of racism.

He was similarly branded a racist after walking out of a public debate when he found out his opponent was Israeli, snarling "I don't debate with Israelis."

Apart from his parliamentary position, Galloway founded the Viva Palestina organization, which coordinates solidarity convoys to Gaza that have included material support for the Hamas-run administration. Galloway himself is an open supporter of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and annihilation of the Jewish people, and has posed for pictures with many of its leaders.

Galloway has also served as a talk show host on Iranian and Russian state TV - a platform he regularly uses to spread anti-Israel conspiracy theories, such as claiming that Israel gave Al Qaeda chemical weapons. He recently interviewed notorious anti-Semite and self-declared "ex-Jew" Gilad Atzmon, during which he showered Atzmon with praise.

"With a sizeable Jewish community, there’s more than a little whiff of race-baiting about the BBC’s decision to bring Galloway to Finchley - a man who would purge everything Israel-related from this country if he had the chance," Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said in response to Galloway's Question Time invitation.

"We hope that the other panelists will declare ‘Je Suis Israeli,’ in order to both protest Galloway’s bigoted views, and stop him having anyone to talk to."

Mike Freer, the MP for the Finchley and Golders Green, told the UK's Jewish Chronicle the move was clearly a deliberate provocation on the part of the BBC.

"The BBC can’t have done it by accident. Given what’s going on in the world it is a slap in the face for the local community. It lacks sensitivity," said Freer.

Some Jewish activists have already pledged to picket the event, with leading Sussex Friends of Israel activist Simon Cobbs urging community members to voice their opposition and "make Golders Green a bigot-free zone."

But the BBC responded to the criticism in a statement to Arutz Sheva, insisting Galloway had every right as an elected MP to appear on the show.

"Question Time invites panellists who reflect a significant range of opinions on a number of different topics," read the statement.

"Whilst Mr Galloway’s views are entirely his own, as an MP he has a right to appear on the programme and has done so previously. Subjects for discussion are chosen by our audience ahead of each show and this edition of Question Time will be no different."

It is just the latest in a string of incidents in which the BBC has been accused of trampling on Jewish sensitivities.

The corporation - which is funded by UK taxpayers' money - came under fire after asking "Is the time coming to lay the Holocaust to rest?" in a tweet just two days before International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Following the Paris terror attacks, BBC journalist Tim Wilcox triggered an angry response in his bizarre cross-examination of a Jewish marcher.

Responding to the woman's fears over rising anti-Semitism in France after the attack on a kosher supermarket which left four Jewish shoppers dead, Wilcox tied the attack to Israel, inexplicably interrupting mid-sentence to inform her that "many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well."