UKIP’s leader has said Islam is “inherently anti-Semitic” and the Labour party has a problem with anti-Jewish prejudice because they rely on Muslim voters.
Gerard Batten MEP made the strong, controversial statement on ITV’s main Sunday morning politics show, shocking presenter Robert Peston, who said he wanted to “challenge” him — before promptly ending the interview.
The newly appointed leader also argued that a proposal to prioritise EU migrants after Brexit could be perceived as “racist” as it disadvantages mostly non-white people from other continents.
“Well, most of the people who live in the EU are probably white, the majority of them. So, isn’t that racist, to say you’d have an immigration system where you prefer people from the European Union rather than have a fair system?”
He added: “I want a fair system for anybody in the world who wants to come.”
.@UKIP leader @GerardBattenMEP claims there are degrees of anti-semitism in the Labour party because it “depends on the Muslim vote in inner cities and the Islamic religion is inherently anti semitic”. #Peston pic.twitter.com/rBd8YvolEr
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) April 29, 2018
However, he also used the interview to argue that the word “racism” is used too readily in political discourse and is becoming debased and losing its meaning.
“It’s like witchcraft in the 16th century. You are guilty until you can prove your innocence,” he said.
“And, I think that’s a very dangerous thing, where this word is bandied about — there’s no definition of what it means… it’s used to accuse people of things that are fairly indistinct.”
Elaborating the point on Twitter after the interview, he added: “My point isn’t that racism isn’t ‘definable’ but rather it’s not defined when people are accused of it.
“And it is routinely used as a catch-all accusation to close down discussions on subjects such as immigration, Islam etc.”
Many online noticed the interview had been rushed and cut short after Mr. Batten made the controversial statement about Islam.
After coming off the air, the UKIP leader also tweeted: “I expected to be asked questions on UKIP, the local elections, Brexit.
“Instead [it was] the usual biased, slanted approach of the MSM establishment. He didn’t like my answer to his last question though and couldn’t end fast enough.”
Revealed: ‘Poisonous’ Anti-Semitic Posts Litter Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook Page https://t.co/woWGwUCJp4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 29, 2018