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Anorak | Frankie Boyle is not a racist: he just picks on soft targets like Jews and the disabled

Frankie Boyle is not a racist: he just picks on soft targets like Jews and the disabled

by | 15th, October 2012

FRANKIE Boyle says the Mirror libelled him when it wrote on 19 July 2011:

“Racist comedian Frankie Boyle could soon be returning to TV despite upsetting thousands of viewers with his sick jokes.”

Boyle says he was defamed by the Mirror when it said he’d been “forced to quit” the BBC comedy show Mock The Week.

His barrister, David Sherborne, told the jury at the High Court, London:

“Saying ‘vile’ or ‘offensive’, or his material is ‘vile’ or ‘offensive’, is one thing. He realises that that goes with the territory, so to speak. But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter…You can call him ‘offensive’, you can call him ‘tasteless’. That’s fine. But he is not racist.”

Frankie Boyle is not really very much at all, is he? His act aims to cause offence but will not be racist. But racism is one of the few things that the State says will cause offence. Sick jokes get people landed in jail, racist or otherwise.

This is, of course, the Frankie Boyle who went on BBC Radio 4 comedy sketch show Political Animal and said:

“I’m quite interested in the Middle East, I’m actually studying that Israeli army martial arts. And I know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. It’s a difficult question to understand. I’ve got an analogy which explains the whole thing quite well: If you imagine that Palestine is a cake – well, that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.

Not an Israeli. A Jew. It sounded like he was using problems in Israel – a country with problems like many others – to get at Jews. Boyle’s problem was not about a country. Boyle’s issue was with Jews. All Jews become answerable for anything Israel does. Is that fair? Are all British-Pakistanis answerable for the Mumbai massacre?

Boyle says vile things to deadline. But, oddly, not about militant Islamists, you know, the kind of people who might want to retaliate physically. Jews are considered fair game. They are less likely to picket his shows and use suicide bombs. Jews, like women and the disabled, are a safe target for Frankie Boyle’s “offensive” humour.

The BBC apologised for Boyle’s comment on violent Jews.

Then Boyle wrote a letter about it:

Obviously, it feels strange to be on the moral high ground but I feel a response is required to the BBC Trust’s cowardly rebuke of my jokes about Palestine.

Cowardly? How so?

As always, I heard nothing from the BBC but read in a newspaper that editorial procedures would be tightened further to stop jokes with anything at all to say getting past the censors.

What did he have to say? That Jews are violent?

…I think the problem here is that the show’s producers will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal was an appropriate target for satire.

His views are clear. Fine. But why did he mention the Jews? He never said Israelis. He said Jews.

…It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken…

Genocide? Oh the hideousness of using the very thing tried on the Jews for centuries to explain what Jews are doing to non-Jews in Israel. They are not destroying a people. Oh, there are horrors. There is violence. There is wrongness. But it is not genocide. To say the Jews are like the Nazis is an abhorrent connivance. It invites a moral equivalence. It undermines the victims of The Holocaust. It offers the racists an explanation: why were the Jews massacred by Hitler? Well, look at Israel. Look at the violent Jew. Never mind the bombs and the rockets. Look at the Jew. Never again! Well, not unless the Jews deserve it.

Jews are on their guard for libels against Jews. They have seen anti-Semitism in action before Israel existed. The right-on cloak these libels in their opinions on Israel. Not all diatribes against Israel are anti-Semitic. The settlements are contentious. The leaders’ talk is often jingoistic. But the two-State solution was rejected by Arafat.

What Boyle and his ilk do is play to the safe crowd. The right-on demonise Israel and those Zionists. They save the Palestinians. They get the powerful, violent Jew. They watch the backs of the defenceless Palestinians.

He went on:

…It’s tragic for such a great institution but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well drilled lobbying…The situation in Palestine seems to be, in essence, apartheid.

No. It isn’t. He needs to visit the place. It is not apartheid.

…A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine.

Hey. He’s done his research.

There’s a section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital. The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out. She ends up in a room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don’t have the supplies to keep treating him. She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.

Jews. Baby killers. A familiar blood libel.

The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved. He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world. “She will do nothing,” he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says: “Neither will you”. I cried at that and promised myself that I would do something. Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not done anything. Neither have you.

Who are “you”?

This official Isreali site says “180,000 Palestinians Treated in Israeli Hospitals This Year [2011].”

This site says:

Israel bars its Jewish citizens from visiting Palestinian areas because of security concerns. Its Arab citizens can, though few use the Palestinian medical system, which is far less developed than the Israeli one. In contrast, Palestinians often seek treatment at more advanced Israeli hospitals for specialized procedures.

Frankie Boyle doesn’t mind being vile, says his brief. But he does. He’s just one of the mob hitting soft targets. He’s no Bernard Manning

Update: He’s won his libel case. The Mirror was wrong to call him a racist.



Posted: 15th, October 2012 | In: Celebrities Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink