Ben White tries to save face about his racist tweet

In a Twitter conversation with Adam Holland, Ben White defends his racist tweet about Howard Jacobson, in which he called for people to look at a Jew’s face, and boycott other Jews.

Here is White’s original tweet (and accompanying photo):

“If you need another reason to support a boycott of Habima, I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face”

White now protests on Twitter, to Adam Holland:

“How is it “grossly bigoted” to point to a man who I am claiming makes rubbish anti-boycott arguments?

And then:

“who said anything about “Jacobson’s appearance”?”

And finally:

[…] I could be pointing to someone making a lame argument, in an anti-BDS poster, looking smug. Or it could be ANTISEMITISM lol.”

So originally, White claims to be overlooking Jacobson’s appearance, and focusing on his arguments about Habima. Then, White does admit he was commenting on Jacobson’s appearance, by claiming he was pointing to someone “looking smug”.

Neither of these contradictory explanations are convincing, in the slightest.

White did not claim in his original tweet, that Howard Jacobson “makes rubbish anti-boycott arguments”, was “making a lame argument”, or even was “looking smug”.

Rather, Ben White wrote that “I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face”. Not even, “I present a picture of Howard Jacobson’s face looking smug.”

The only thing special about this photo, according to Ben White, is that is “massive”. It is a picture of Jacobson, and White does not draw attention to his facial expressions at all, rather his face.

Ben White presents the face of Howard Jacobson, and not Jacobson’s political views or even his facial expressions in this one photo, as a reason to support a boycott of Jewish actors.

According to one commenter on Harry’s Place, Ben White’s comments were “a bit of fun” and “tongue-in-cheek”. Alex Bjanarson wrote:

I think you’ve taken something said tongue-in-cheek and over-extrapolated.

If I made a post on here against an issue Ben White supported, I might say “and of course, if you need any further reason to agree with me, here’s a picture of Ben White [i.e. look at him, what a dick!].” Hopefully all would take it in the spirit with which it is meant, a bit of fun.

Bjanarson’s point works, to an extent. It might be playful, though ungraceful, to look at your political opponent and mock his mannerisms or physical appearance. Another thing entirely, would be to use your political opponent’s face, as a reason to boycott other members of his race or ethnicity.

Needless to say, Ben White was suitably impressed with this comment, and exclaimed to Sam Hailes on Twitter:

I’m not going to bother explaining. However, try this >> Alex Bjarnason, 3:17pm

So Ben White is claiming, via Bjarnason’s comment, that his racist tweet about Howard Jacobson was meant “tongue-in-cheek”, as “a bit of fun”.

This further contradicts his earlier messages to Adam Holland, that he was commenting on Howard Jacobson’s face to make serious political points about Jacobson’s “lame arguments” about BDS.

Bear in mind that Howard Jacobson is less than 3 months away from his 70th birthday. He looks fantastic for 69. Sneering at someone’s appearance as they enter their eighth decade of life, is quite unpleasant in any case.

It appears that Ben White has offered three different excuses for his racist tweet:

  1. It was a comment on Jacobson’s politics and not his appearance
  2. It was a comment on Jacobson’s “looking smug”
  3. It was “a bit of fun” and “tongue-in-cheek”

These excuses all fail.

Read the original tweet again:

“If you need another reason to support a boycott of Habima, I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face”

When you dislike a Jew so much, and find his appearance so revolting, that you will boycott other Jews because of his face, then you are showing yourself to be a racist and an antisemite.

Ben White ought never to be published again: not by the New Statesman, not by the Independent, not by the Guardian, nor by any mainstream publication. We should not stomach this race-baiter, who tells you,

Just look at the face of an older, middle-aged Jew from my country, and you will understand why you should boycott others Jews.

If you see Ben White in print, or hear him on the radio, then write letters, complain to editors, and let us make every effort to ensure that this racist has no platform in the British media.

Where he is published, those who publish him should be reminded of Ben White’s racist message, and indeed his previous track record on antisemitism.

Let his publishers know that the man whom they are paying to write words, no longer requires words to advance his cause.