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Racism: George Freeman [Image: BBC].

What a shocking display of racism on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme today (January 23)!

George Freeman’s outrageous claim that it isn’t racist to call black people “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” went unchallenged by host Jo Coburn.

He made his comments in defence of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, while attacking the Labour Party, alleging that it tolerates anti-Semites in its ranks.

The outburst was condemned by Jackie Walker, a Labour member and former vice-chair of Momentum who, like This Writer, is facing disciplinary action by party authorities over alleged – and allegedly vexatious – allegations of anti-Semitism.

Here’s the exchange:

As you can see, Mr Freeman hypocritically attacked the Labour Party for abuses while claiming that obviously racist remarks by Mr Johnson were simply “inappropriate language”. And he tried to dismiss counter-claims that right-wingers on the social media had made equally shocking attacks.

If I were to claim that the anti-Semitism alleged against me was merely “inappropriate language”, my accusers would have a field day – and rightly so. My case is much stronger than that.


Apparently some prejudice is more objectionable than others in their opinion.

Fortunately there were others who did take offence at Mr Freeman’s behaviour. Here’s a selection of their (and my) comments:

My interpretation of that is, we’re looking at Mr Freeman and Mr Johnson.

It’s definitely worth a complaint via the BBC website.

He doesn’t care when it’s anti-Semitic – the accusations against Labour members like Ms Walker are without basis.

This seems more likely.

Emma Picken, to whom Janice Barnes was responding, is one of the anti-Semitism trolls on Twitter – they gang up to accuse people of anti-Semitism, posting their version of evidence, which isn’t evidence at all. If you look at the image she included in her tweet above, you’ll see it’s by another person, alleging that the Church of England has capitulated to the pro-Israel/Zionist lobby. Personally, I don’t know anything about the issue in particular, but it is very clear that the matter is political, to do with the nation of Israel and the policy of Zionism – and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism at all. But Ms Picken quotes it in support of her claim that Ms Walker is an anti-Semite.

You see how these people work?

Ms Walker is currently under suspension from the Labour Party after attending a so-called “training” session run by the Jewish Labour Movement in which, discussing Holocaust Memorial Day, she asked why the event did not commemorate all holocausts, including that against Native Americans. The event had been advertised as a “safe space”, in which people could air their concerns without fear of reprisal, so the appropriate response would be to discuss the event, perhaps visit its website and see whether Ms Walker was mistaken and the event that concerned her is commemorated after all, and discuss asking for it to be added if it isn’t.

Instead, the JLM either recorded her comments, or allowed them to be recorded and released to the mainstream media (I think it was the Huffington Post as an example of her vile anti-Semitism.

Can you see any hatred of Jews there? It seems to me that Ms Walker was advocating for another ethnic group, rather than denigrating Jews.

Of course, the definition of anti-Semitism seems to be highly subjective, as the discussion on Daily Politics made clear:

I agreed with her:

I also agree that further definition does indeed draw people into very “murky water” – and the definition recognised by Labour, against which Ms Walker will be judged, won’t stand up in a court of law.

Labour’s disputes panel isn’t a court of law, of course, but the smirk Ms Coburn sent towards George Freeman when she suggested Ms Walker take these issues up with Labour may soon be permanently wiped off her face because, like me, Ms Walker’s case is that, like mine, her actions do not conform to any of the definitions of anti-Semitism that have been adopted by the Labour Party.

Most particularly, we do not express hatred towards Jews, simply because they are Jews.

George Freeman, on the other hand, is very clearly a racist.

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