From the UN to the US to the BBC, the Lobby knows no rest.

It seems that nowadays if something does not go your way when discussing/commenting/joking on matters relating to Israel, the immediate default position is to see yourself as the victim of “the Lobby”.

Although such a position has a long and unpleasant history, its more recent appearance began with the book, “the Israel Lobby” in which the authors, unable to believe that the US would support Israel on its own volition, can only explain such matters as the response of the (evidently, not so secret) machinations of “the Lobby”.

The Lib Dem candidate who cannot understand why there is not an arms embargo against Israel can only think of one reason; “the Lobby”.

And now, the comedian Frankie Boyle.

Lightly reprimanded by the BBC for a “joke” he made on a BBC Radio 4 programme, Boyle can only imagine that the cause for his chiding was – not BBC guidelines nor a commitment not to offend put into place following the populist overreaction to the Ross and Brand affair – but the result of “well drilled lobbying”.

In a parody of the well-known maxim, if “the Lobby” existed, it wouldn’t need to be invented.

Here’s a report of the story,

And here’s Boyle’s response,

9 Responses to “From the UN to the US to the BBC, the Lobby knows no rest.”

  1. Thomas Venner Says:

    Frankie Boyle just makes “jokes” primarily intended to shock – look at his nasty, unprovoked jibes on Mock the Week from a while back about the Olympic Gold medallist Rebecca Adlington. It’s not exactly surprising that it’s finally come back and bit him on the arse.

  2. Absolute Observer Says:

    This comment appeared at”Harry’s Place”. It claims to have been written by the complainant (I have no way of knowing if this is correct or not).
    However, it raises an interesting point.
    The complaint is not at the “satire” but at the use of language; i.e. that of the expression “an angry Jew” (and it was to this point that the BBC upheld the complaint).

    Thinking of what the visual image of Boyle’s comment – in which the state of Palestine is compared to a cake “being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew” – the question of its antisemitic resonances is beyond doubt.

    Visually, the “joke”could only appear as the fist of a large nosed, thick-lipped, earlocked man (or, simply a man with a star of David armband) distored with rage pummeling his large fist into a soft cake marked Palestine, its innards splattering in all direction…….

    Seen like this Boyle’s joke is at one with his imagined belief in a “well-driven lobby” who is responsible, not only for persecuting him, but for having the power to force a national broadcasting corporation to do something not only against its own interests, but rather, in the interests of another “angry Jew”.

    “Truer word
    1 May 2010, 1:46 pm
    I am the complainant.
    I can confirm that’s the first time I’ve ever been referred to as “a well drilled lobby.”
    The assumption that I am part of a lobby reveals more about Mr Boyle than it does me. I do not belong to any organization, nor do I hold any senior position.
    But then I guess facts aren’t Mr Boyle’s strong point. His letter consists of the most ignorant drivel. I find it very funny that he now paints himself as an innocent victim – seems Mr Boyle is good at dishing it out, not so good at taking it on the chin. Such bullies often have glass jaws. And it is rather hard to take moral lessons from someone who thinks dead children with Down’s Syndrome are great comedic material.
    I think the main point has been lost. Boyle can spout whatever ignorant crap he wants – but this was broadcast by the BBC, which has legal obligations, and which is funded by public money. I’m not going to be told I should pay a mandatory licence fee to hear anti-Semitic jokes. Of course he makes no reference to his choice of language for the joke, the very fact on which he was censured, and which changed the joke from satire (even if completely wrongheaded) to hatred.
    Boyle makes several crass and unsubstantiated allegations to desperately try to find some moral high ground. I usually find that when the Boyles of this world make allegations through hysterical slogans their so-called arguments soon crumble. I suggest that if Mr Boyle is truly interested in apartheid, rather than looking at democratic Israel with its free elections, free press and independent judiciary, he turns his attention to the despotic and oppressive regimes of Hamas, Saudi Arabia and Iran. It may involve delving a little deeper than a documentary seen several years ago.
    These are just the hateful rantings of a man with a bruised ego.”

  3. Mira Vogel Says:

    I sat through a friend’s DVD of a Boyle show late in 2008 in which he made that joke. Having been saturated with demonic imagery of Jews conflated with Israelis all year, I remember thinking how bad things must have got that I felt grateful for the dull silver lining that an “angry” stereotype was in my view preferable to an “evil” one. I’m glad somebody complained, and that it was upheld.

  4. Absolute Observer Says:


    “I sat through a friend’s DVD of a Boyle show late in 2008 in which he made that joke.”

    Surely not! How could such a “well-drilled lobby” let him get away with “criticising Israel” live in UK theatres and, not only that. allowing it to be released on DVD.
    Sounds unlikely to me………..

    Unless, of course, the “well-drilled lobby” was planning this all along – allowing it live and then, as soon as it appeared on the BBC – boom (as Jon Stewart would say) – get to work and show the national broadcasting country of a (relatively) powerful nation just who’s the boss?

    In the words of Walt and Mearshimer in a similar context, “what other explanation can there be”?

  5. Inna Says:

    If Frankie really was on a moral high ground (as he claims) he could start by admitting that he’s doing the conventional and acceptable thing: punching Jews and Israel. (And anyway who can tell the difference these days?) I mean Israel has to be evil because it is the repository of all of the West’s evil and, as we all know, the west is so evil as to defy imagination.

    Indeed, the only evil place in the world is the West. And Israel is the epicenter of the West…



  6. jdyer Says:

    Please read this coming Sunday’s New York Times Book Review which has published on the front page a terrific review of “Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England” by Anthony Julius. The reviewer is Harold Bloom and he has some pretty damning things to say about British antisemitism especially, in academia, and especially, the way it hides under the name of “anti-Zionism.”

    I expect the review will change the nature of the debate on the “new” antisemitism.

    I am glad to have Professor Bloom on the side of those who combating antisemitism, new or old.

  7. James Says:

    Engage is now officially part of the all-powerful Lobby – a badge of honour surely

  8. Anti-racism 101 Says:

    Hardly a ‘badge of honour’ – being told you have been mentioned by Sizer is more like being informed that you have dog-crap on your shoes and that the stench still lingers.

  9. Absolute Observer Says:

    I guess that Sizer’s continued writing of the nonsense of the Lobby is proof, if indeed proof is needed, that the notion of ‘The Israel Lobby’ is nothing more than the product of a fevered paranoid imagination* that every now and then gets the better of people.
    *Controls US/UK/European foreign policy.
    *Controls the House of Representatives, Senate and US President.
    *Controls most of the world’s press at the national level.
    *Controls the BBC
    *Has the power to start wars
    *Has the power to start and intervene in civil wars
    *Controls leading international judges
    *Controls the Liberal Democrats
    *Controls the Labour Party
    *Controls the Conservative Party
    *Stop certain actors winning Oscars (i.e. controls Hollywood)
    *Control trade unions

    And these are only the myths that one can think cite without research.
    Please feel free to add some more.
    And if any one wants to enter into a serious discussion about the myth of the Lobby, the only legitimate question there is to ask is why it is that so many people, people who really should know better (as well as those who have never known better) actually believe in its existence. All others, I am afraid, merely feed the paranoia and furthers rather than challenges the fight against antisemitism as well as perpetuating the (antisemitic) idea that although what (antisemites) said about the Jews in the past (*see the above list) was not and was never true but that the very same tales and libels told today (*see the above list) are true.

    So much for the alleged overcoming of ‘classical antisemitism’!!

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