Much as I was disappointed by Frankie Boyle when he played the Cambridge Corn Exchange (and wouldn’t bother going to see him again anywhere) I do still like a lot of the things he says, does, and jokes about. (We’ll also get past that thing about the Down’s Syndrome jokes, which were stupid and based on attitudes from about twenty years ago)

I’ve also been impressed with his statement here about the apology issued “on his behalf” (and apparently without his knowledge) by the BBC in regard to jokes he made on a radio programme two years ago…

In case you missed it, the jokes in question are: ‘I’ve been studying Israeli Army Martial Arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well…that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.’

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. The Trust’s ruling is essentially a note from their line managers. It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.

The BBC refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal in 2009 to help residents of Gaza rebuild their homes. 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 full statement (as per the above link) is available here

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