“Donald Trump, POTUS, has been sharing videos - reTweeting videos which were originally made by the deputy leader of a far right group in Britain called Britain First. Ah, many people regard Britain First as a fascist organisation - certainly on the far, far right, and these tweets purport to show Muslims committing crimes.
Okay, it’s true. Many people do see Britain First in the way Neil described, and yes, the videos are unverified, so they may be less than accurate. (But, hey, as the BBC is wont to say, retweets are not endorsements.)
“He retweeted three posts by a Jayda Fransen today. i assume when he woke up this morning, Washington time. The posts include unverified videos tilted ‘Muslims destroy a statue of Virgin Mary, Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches - I think you get the sense of the kind of things there -
Franzen is 31, I think she’s the deputy leader of Britain First, she’s facing four charges - she’s currently out on bail - facing four charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment as part of a Kent police investigation into the distribution of leaflets and the posting of online videos during a trial at Canterbury Crown Court in May.
This might sound like clutching at straws, but being charged by Kent police isn’t exactly conclusive proof of guilt. Why, only a few moments ago Paul Bacon, the solicitor for Michael Stone, the man imprisoned for a brutal murder that now appears to have been committed by Levi Bellfield, was on BBC News telling the world that Kent police have lost evidence and been decidedly unhelpful to his investigation.
It’s a bit disturbing, too, that Andrew Neil (purportedly) hasn’t heard of Britain First, since the BBC made a documentary about it - featuring Jayda Fransen and co. - only a couple of years ago. . Isn’t that a tiny bit remiss of Saint Andrew? He’s supposed to be on top of the news, surely.
“She’s also due to appear in court in Northern Ireland, charged with using threatening and abusive language in a speech she made in Belfast in August. Mr Trump has 46.3 million followers who will have now been sent these videos from Britain First.
I think I’m right in saying, you may know better - that the man who murdered Jo Cox - who struck her down in cold blood - wasn’t he shouting ‘Britain First’?
Yes, Andrew, as everyone but you seems to be aware.
“Brendan Cox, the widow,(sic) has tweeted ‘Mr. Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours, spreading hatred has consequences; the president should be ashamed of himself.”
In addition to the bizarre nature of the president of the greatest democracy in the world doing this sort of thing it’s a real problem for the British government now, is it not?”
Laura Kuenssberg says everyone would find this completely and utterly repellent. The conversation moved on to the issue of Trump’s forthcoming visit. Needless to say, everyone present was not enthusiastic.
Several people have remarked that it doesn’t really matter if the videos are accurate or not, because they represent the sort of thing that does actually happen.
However, that is the very defence used by Charles Enderlin of France 2, who was responsible for publicising the clip of Mohammad Al Dura all those years ago. If you don’t know the story, Google Philippe Karsenty.
And, yes, such things do have consequences. For example, Daniel Pearl’s murder was ‘justified’ by his killers as revenge for Al Dura. That iconic image has been round the world many times while the truth is still having difficulty tying up its bootlaces. So, yes, if you’re in a position of responsibility you need to be truthful and you need to be accurate. Such a pity Trump chose to reTweet dodgy videos of Muslim aggression when there are plenty of genuine ones available.
Of course we mustn’t forget Jon Donnison’s infamous tweet, which did such a good turn for the Israel-bashing brigade, and his apology was too little too late. In fact, let’s not forget the way that the BBC wallowed, and still does, in unverified footage of “what Israel is doing”, yet I haven’t heard anyone from the BBC condemn this for “having consequences”. The BBC is unrepentant, where indirectly stirring up antisemitism is concerned. It’s ‘Islamophobia’ that must not be encouraged.
The rise in antisemitism in the UK coincides with the increase in the Muslim population, but I haven’t heard Andrew Neil getting vocal over that. Israel-bashing has become mainstream at a time when Jeremy Corbyn is interviewed respectfully and his past and present affiliations with antisemitic groups is no longer an issue with the BBC’s two Big Andrews.
Instead of examining the logic of his own position, Andrew Neil views anti-Islam advocacy as fascistic and far, far right, when logic tells us that the opposite is the case. It’s Islam’s hatred of Jews that most strongly resembles ‘Nazi’ hatred of Jews, whereas anti-Islam sentiment is based on a preference for western-style democracy and freedom. Acknowledging this is presently deemed politically incorrect by the people that run the BBC.
Of course the circumstances behind those examples of ‘fake videos’ are very different, but there’s enough similarity in the weakness of the argument (that "It doesn’t matter because we know that sort of thing goes on anyway!") to dismiss it out of hand. Yes, it does matter. Trump should never have done it, and really, he should give Twitter a rest altogether.
That doesn’t let Andrew Neil off the hook though. The one thing that stands out (for me) most of all is that Andrew Neil sees critics of Islam as ‘fascists’ and far, far right. Is he unaware that Islam’s teachings about Jews bear a striking similarity to that of the fascists and the 'far, far, right' of 1930s Germany? In fact they are near identical. For anyone who values western democracy, criticising Islam’s worst excesses and most antithetical tenets is entirely rational. Hating a religion and hating a people are very different things and equating Islamophobia with antisemitism is cowardly and wilfully ignorant.