Stone and brass monuments to racism should not be our only target. Melanie Phillips is a living breathing monument to racism and bigotry. She openly attacks any form of what she refers to as “Black Power” and has labeled the Black Lives Matter movement as “an anti-white, anti-capitalist and anti-Jewish hate group” who she claims are using George Floyd’s murder as an “excuse for insurrection, violence and criminality.
Despite her obvious racism and bigotry, the British mainstream media seem more than happy to provide Phillips with a very tall and broad plinth. For all their virtue signalling during their reporting of the George Floyd killing and the subsequent coverage of his funeral and the Black Lives Matter rallies around the world, most of the British media have repeatedly platformed some of the most vile racist extremists in this country for decades and, as such, given them credence and even implied that they represent mainstream political thought. This transforms the likes of Melanie Phillips, Katie Hopkins, Trevor Phillips etc and most of the British mainstream media, into monuments to racism that are equally deserving of our ire as the statues that commemorate slavery and racist ideology.
Of course the typical media response to an argument like this is that they are obliged to respect freedom of speech, to which we must ask “If this is the case then why did you choose NOT to give anti-racists like Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson, Ken Livingstone or even the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, an equally tall and broad plinth from which to express their views?” Clearly, freedom of speech in the media is a rare commodity and far too frequently wasted on racists, bigots and Islamophobes like Melanie Phillips. What we should all recognise is, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, when the media engage in this kind of selective behaviour they are effectively choosing to control the narrative and are directly engaging in spreading propaganda.
In June 2017, Times columnist, Melanie Philips, attacked Islam live on the Sky news. She was a guest on their newspaper review program and was asked for her comments on the white terrorist attack in Finsbury Park. Instead of denouncing the atrocity, Ms Philips saw this as an opportunity to mount a vicious attack on Islam, suggesting that so-called “Islamist Terrorism” could not be compared to other forms of extremist terrorism. In fact, she went to some lengths to single out Islam as deviant and something to be truly feared.
It’s almost easier to understand why an ignorant fascist might attack a person of colour, or murder and anti-racist like Jo Cox, or mow down a group of innocent people just for observing the Islamic faith but when a supposedly intelligent, highly respected and influential Times Columnist, platformed on Sky News and the BBC, thinks it’s acceptable to attack Muslims, unchallenged, then that sets off alarm bells because then the media are colluding and implying that ‘society’ deems it acceptable. I couldn’t find the original Sky News clip but I have managed to find a short clip from the BBC’s Sunday Politics program where Phillips arrogantly argues Islamophobia is legitimate and that people use the term Islamophobia to shut down “legitimate debate” but that any criticism or debate around Israel is Anti-Semitic and not legitimate…
I found another clip from BBC’s Question Time in which Phillips smugly argues that Jeremy Corbyn hates everything about Britain and that he likes “a whole bunch of people who really do hate Britain and want to hurt it and destroy it”, so basically perpetuating a narrative that Corbyn is a ‘Muslim sympathizer’ and that Muslims and Corbyn are a direct threat to the British people…
Phillips is also frequently on Radio 4, where she regularly denigrates Muslims and maliciously attacks Jeremy Corbyn for apparently ‘standing up for Muslims.’
Phillips doesn’t exclusively hate Black people and Muslims by the way. For example, she rather enjoys mocking the Scots and frames them as a small insignificant nation who loath, resent and hate the English but who haven’t the first clue about how to self-govern – a narrative that harks back to colonial Britain when British politicians would argue that Indians are too stupid to govern their own country and that India would be lost and would literally fall apart without the presence of a colonial power to rule over them.
Phillips is in fact a Zionist and sees western colonisation of Palestine as a God given right. Here’s Phillips giving a speech on effective pro-Israel propaganda at the University of Bar-ilan in Israel where she talks about how Israel should try to improve its public image…
In this lecture, Phillips gives clear instruction on how Israel should frame its message to the rest of the world. She tells them that the UK is hostile towards Israel (note she’s not just talking about the left, she’s referring to the entire UK) and that the mainstream media in the UK is hostile towards Israel. This is an odd thing to say for someone who works for multiple British papers and frequently appears on Sky News and on the BBC but then it makes sense that she should imply that because it subsequently allows her to cleverly manipulate the audience into believing what she tells them next. She ramps up their fear of Arabs by telling them that the west has been influenced by ‘Arab interference’, This also serves to remove any doubt they might have had over whether Israel or Israelis should accept any personal criticism or liability for their actions. Phillips’ claims that Arabs are rolling in money and have been funding a “sophisticated campaign” of “psychological warfare”, using a “false narrative” to “recruit a fanatical army” and to “bamboozle the west”. Imagine the response we would have had in this country if a British Journalist had made a claim like that against the state of Israel.
Sufficiently frightened out of their wits and fully pliable, Phillips then advises her audience that Israel should adopt a new propaganda tactic and simply just stop defending its actions because when you defend yourself you admit you have something to defend. She tells them that they should instead go on the attack and accuse the ‘enemies of Israel’, i.e. “the rest of the world”. She tells them to always refer to Palestine as “a terrorist state on Israel’s doorstep” and to create a narrative implying that “Israel’s case is the case of law, justice and truth” and that anyone who challenges that are simply pushing “illegality, aggression and lies”. She then tells them they must work to “delegitimise the delegitimisers” with a “proactive public educational process in the west” (which sounds suspiciously like a remit to proactively interfere in foreign politics). They must work to shift the narrative away from Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land and argue that “the Jewish claim to the land was recognised back in the 1920’s” and allegedly recognised as a “historical right” by the international community.
Phillips’ propaganda strategy seeks to deflect from the truth that the Balfour agreement was negotiated by the Jewish Board of Deputies in Britain, that it was not an international agreement and that it had nothing to do with “historical right”. The agreement was negotiated with the British government (the colonial power that was occupying the territory at that time) and supported by “a sympathetic evangelical Christian sentiment”. Negotiations were primarily based upon geopolitical calculations as Britain was concerned about losing influence and control in the region and wanted to create regional protégés.
Needless to say, Philips does not support a 2 state solution or any move to give Palestinians any autonomy at all. In fact, she has previously remarked that she feels that “Israel is being demonised” but “If Israel were to leave the West Bank, it would turn Islamist overnight and become an Iranian proxy on Israel’s doorstep”.
Phillips wears her fear and hatred of Muslims on her sleeve. In a certain Spectator article, which has since mysteriously disappeared, Phillips accused Barack Obama of “adopting the agenda of the Islamist” and of being “firmly in the Islamists camp”. Thankfully, you can still find references to the article elsewhere.
She appears to hate Barack Obama as much as she hates Muslims, possibly even more because of his support for black rights. Shortly after Obama’s re-election she remarked – “Four years ago, America put into the White House a sulky narcissist with an unbroken history of involvement in thuggish, corrupt, far-left, black power, Jew-bashing, west-hating politics.” The Independent termed it a “rather odd and angry rant” at the time but it also gave us a glimpse into Phillip’s deeply rooted racist mindset.
In 2006, she published a book called ‘Londonistan – How Britain is creating a terror state within’, where she wrote about the so-called spread of “Islamism” in the United Kingdom. Kenan Malik of the Independent, wrote in response that Phillips’ shared striking similarities with Islamist extremists in that they “Both insist that we are in a religious world war between the forces of good and evil. Both believe that only religion can help restrain decadent behaviour and establish a proper moral framework. Both abhor the growth of secular humanism. Both see Britain as a debauched and disorderly culture of instant gratification, with disintegrating families, feral children, violence, squalor and vulgarity on the streets”.
Ironically, for someone who once claimed Corbyn hated and wanted to change everything about Britain, Phillips has shown that she has made a career out of hating British people and British values. Philips also hates the LGBTQ+ community. She’s against civil partnerships for gay couples and has remarked that she feels “the traditional family has been relentlessly attacked by an alliance of feminists, gay rights activists, divorce lawyers and cultural Marxists who grasped that this was the surest way to destroy Western society”, as if these folks are somehow not part of British society. She’s also against giving IVF fertility treatment to lesbians because she thinks it would “help destroy our understanding of human identity” and that we should “fightback to save our civilisation”. She actually believes that there is a “ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very concept of normal sexual behaviour”. For her troubles, Philips received the ‘Bigot of the Year’ award from gay equality organisation ‘Stonewall’ in 2011.
I have to ask, how does a hate preacher and fascist like Melanie Philips who de-humanises and demonises Muslims, people of colour, Scots, the Gay community and the British people in general, a woman who refers to ordinary British people as subscribing to “a debauched and disorderly culture of instant gratification, with disintegrating families, feral children, violence, squalor and vulgarity on the streets”, who hates anyone that sympathises with Palestinians (like Corbyn) and who attacks Obama for supporting the Black Power movement and accuses him of Jew Bashing (because he criticised Israel), manage to get such a broad platform on British mainstream media. Perhaps certain newspaper and TV editors also subscribe to her ideology?
In a recent article in the JNS, Phillips paints the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as an “an anti-white, anti-capitalist and anti-Jewish hate group.” She warns her readers that BLM have “accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinians” and then goes on to report that some protesters have been heard to shout phrases like “disrupt white capitalism” at recent rallies. So, in Phillip’s eye, calling out the genocide perpetrated by Israel must mean that BLM supporters hate all Jews and are Antisemitic. She openly labels Antifa, BLM and others as violent criminals and tells her readers that they are using George Floyd’s murder as an “excuse for insurrection, violence and criminality.” She even goes so far as to claim that the police do NOT “unfairly target black people.” She explains that African-Americans have to accept some of the blame for a disproportionate number of black people being attacked and killed by the police because the police encounter a “disproportionate number of armed black suspects”. She then goes on to describe how African-Americans “made up 53 percent of known homicide offenders in the United States and committed about 60 percent of robberies.” Phillips also loves to throw about phrases like “Victim Culture” which she frequently throws are various black and minority groups. She claims these groups use “Victim Culture” as “a moral free pass for whatever they do”. She doesn’t appear to apply this theory to Jews, so perhaps in her eyes, only Jews have the moral ground and only Jews have a right to refer to themselves as victims? She then makes a rather ludicrous attempt to label all Black & minority groups, all of whom she claims subscribe to “Victim Culture”, as Anti-Semitic. At one point, Phillips even claims that “Anti-Semitism is worse than any other racism”, which clearly demonstrates that Phillips is either unable or unwilling to apply her own theory about “Victim Culture” to Jews. She knows it’s not appropriate or justifiable to use it against Jews but she has no hesitation slinging such accusation at literally every other minority group.
In Phillip’s eyes, the ‘progressives’ appear to be colluding with the Black Lives Matter movement and she describes this as “moral bankruptcy” which she claims “has spread through American and Western society”. Perhaps she is misguided or genuinely frightened or perhaps she is deliberately painting a frightening picture for British and American Jews? After all, fear is an extremely effective way to dominate political discourse isn’t it? Clearly when she tries to claim that all other minority groups use “Victim Culture” to intimidate, lie and commit violence and that these groups have “Jews firmly in its sights”, it would suggest that this racist, bigoted, propagandist is very effective at plying her art.
Phillips has even taken offence at British police officers taking the knee to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. She describes such scenes as a manifestation of a “demoralized British society” coming “off the moral and cultural rails”
Could anyone imagine giving an Islamist extremist hate preacher the same platforms? What if we gave them a regular column in the Times, or Spectator or the Daily Mail, although, admittedly I think Phillips got sacked from the Daily Mail after 12 years for being too right wing (imagine that, too right wing for the Daily Mail?). Would we invite them to preach their hate on Sky News programs, the BBC’s Daily Politics or Question Time or on Radio 4 I wonder? So why is it that the mainstream media are happy to provide her with the widest possible platform from which to spew her bile? Freedom of speech, ignorance or active collusion? I’ll leave it up to you to decide but what’s clear now is that we must turn our attention towards all the people and institutions who appear to have a vested interest in demonising and disenfranchising people of colour and that includes the mainstream media and political parties.
On a final note, it might be worth noting that Phillips is married to Joshua Rozenberg, former producer, reporter and then legal correspondent for the BBC and former legal affairs editor for the Daily Telegraph. Connections are always handy I suppose?
UPDATE: We’ve now started a petition to get the Times Newspaper to sack Melanie Phillips as a columnist. Please sign and share and please help to raise awareness about her rampant racism and bigotry…