Writer and broadcaster Michael Rosen has taken TV presenter Rachel Riley to task over her comments during a ‘car crash’ Channel 4 interview last night.
Riley told Channel 4’s Krish Guru-Murthy:
A clearly upset Rosen quickly took to social media to ask challenge Riley’s comment and ask her publicly what she meant:
Rosen’s assessment of Riley’s comment was unequivocal:
But it wasn’t just Riley. As seen immediately above, numerous Twitter users jumped in to defend Riley and her comment – a comment that would have seen a very different reaction had a left-winger made it – and Rosen was quick to highlight the double standards:
But just as conspicuous, at the time, was the complete absence of condemnation from some of the names that would be all over the comments had they been made by a left-winger. Rosen challenged them, too:
At least one of the above wrote praising Riley’s interview without any mention of the antisemitic slur. When some of them eventually did respond and mention Riley’s comments it was – all too predictably – to attack Rosen, as did a number of the worst online ‘antisemitism trolls’, including non-Jews.
The sheer contortions conducted by some who wanted to defend Riley or dismiss her comment that brought some of dark humour to the fore:
But underlying it all was a genuine pain at the implications of the comment:
Rosen told the SKWAWKBOX:
Rachel Riley said ‘I don’t look like a typical Jew or anything like that.’ There is a beauty league table in the West with the championship usually going to white western blondes.
Many Jews have been mocked in many different ways for our appearance…not conforming to the western top spot. Ms Riley has used that and sided with the divisive competitive logic of that league table.
But at the end of the day who is this ‘typical Jew’? A fantasy in the minds of Nazi cartoonists? Does Rachel Riley believe that those cartoonists got us right? What about Sammy Davis Jnr? Goldie Hawn? Kirk Douglas? Tony Curtis?
Rachel Riley was invited to comment, but had not responded by the time of publication.
Rosen asked whether the response – or lack of it – from some of those who have been loudest in attacking the Labour meant that some of them are motivated by politics rather than a genuine concern to fight all antisemitism. It’s a fair question.
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