On Frankie Boyle, Jews and Israelis

It’s now common-place for people who think they’re being to-the-point about matters concerning Israel to then go on to confuse Jew, Israeli and Zionist, implicating them interchangeably in Israel’s policies, often with intense hostility.

You might assume an honest mistake but if, on being corrected, they become indignant and start going on about being gagged, speaking truth to power and so on, then you have to entertain the idea that they’re labouring under an aversion to Jews imperfectly contained in a more socially-acceptable aversion to Zionists and Israel.

Frankie Boyle, dispensing with the figleaf, proposed that his audience should think of Palestine as a cake punched to bits by a Jew and then, when lightly reprimanded after a complaint was upheld, accused the BBC of capitulating to a “lobby” and with startling sincerity disclosed that he had written the jokes in support of Palestinians.

A Richard Herring tweet got me to this by The Man Who Fell Asleep.

He talks about the difficult relationship many Jews outside Israel have with Israel, exacerbated by Israel’s policy towards Palestinians, and continues:

“What really annoys me about Boyle’s letter to the BBC is the tone. This is the pathetic self-pity of a man who courts controversy, who happily laughs at down-syndrome kids but feels that he can take the moral high-ground when the BBC rebukes him for villifying a minority. He continues his letter by explaining that he once watched a documentary about Palestine, sounding like nothing more than David Cameron explaining that he once met a black man. Well, you’ve watched a documentary about Palestine! Brilliant! That certainly makes you an expert, or at least cool enough to stride around Dalston in a Palestinian scarf, high-fiving those who wish the destruction of Israel.

Oh, and of course he talks of “well-drilled lobbying,” which plays into the hands of those who believe the Jews control the media. Is there are pro-Israel lobby? Of course there is, just as there’s a pro-Palestinian lobby and a pro-Iranian lobby and a pro-American lobby. All sides have their lobbies.

He continues with more self-pity: “…I cried at that [the documentary] and promised myself that I would do something. Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not done anything. Neither have you.””

There’s something really ugly about seeing a person’s sense of their own cosmic impotence curdle into vindictive blame.

Hat tip: my other half (who must be Richard Herring’s most devoted fan).

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