In the Labour anti-Semitism debate, Daily Politics hosts a genuine Tory racist

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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13 thoughts on “In the Labour anti-Semitism debate, Daily Politics hosts a genuine Tory racist

  1. Jill Phillips

    The Jewish Labour Party is trouble. (I personally find it hard to update its name to JLMovement because it hasn’t moved anywhere – and neither, I am quite sure, will it ever.)
    The ‘Jewish Voice of Labour’, on the other hand, is passionate but measured. The 2 members who gave their 5 minute speeches at Conference earned many ovations – with standing ovations to follow.
    The UK Labour Party wants to work alongside all people of goodwill and action.
    Where IS the Jewish Voice for Labour? It should and could be working to calm down this ridiculous chain of trumped up charges, faux colonial ‘training’ sessions and so on. I’m sure it wants to, but I guess it’s been shouted down.

    1. rollo57

      Under Corbyn, Labour have been wildly accused of antisemitism that has been mistaken for anti-Zionism, which isn’t antisemitic. Corbyn stands up for Palestine, which I don’t hear MP’s from other parties doing, is this a taboo subject for Friends of Israel, in either of the parties? Why is one ‘nation / religion’, allowed a free pass on assault of people from another nation?
      Why are we making laws that will see people jailed for criticising this ‘religion / nation’, for committing acts that are against human rights laws?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You need to be clear: Israel is the NATION that carries out activities against Palestine/Palestinians. Judaism is a RELIGION that has members who disagree with that behaviour.

  2. Jill Phillips

    Having just looked at the video of Jackie Walker’s BBC interview, I must admit to not even knowing that she (or anybody else in particular) was, indeed, a member of the Jewish Voice for Labour. How appropriate. Yet how totally incredible that she – having her extraordinarily long record of teaching anti-racism and [condemning] anti semitism (though I certainly don’t agree that Jews are the only semites worth talking about) should be summoned for ‘training’ by …. I have no more words! It’s too ridiculous.
    It’s far past the time to bring on the whole Choir!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I didn’t think you meant she taught anti-Semitism, as that would be teaching hatred of Jews, which isn’t right. So I added the word “condemning”, in order to make your comment make sense.

  3. Jill Phillips

    My ‘Quite right’ applied to Mike Sivier’s correction; NOT to Stephen Bellamy.
    Having said which – one also must be clear about ‘Israel’s’ responsibility for the appalling treatment of Palestinians. Should the soldiers and settlers who are so obviously delighted to be responsible for it perhaps be more accurately known as ‘Israelites’? Just asking.

Comments are closed.