Melanie Phillips: 'If you prick me, do I not bleed?'

The controversial columnist and broadcaster reveals how she is still affected by online criticism


Columnist Melanie Phillips has revealed that she's still affected by online criticism, even after being a journalist for over 20 years.

In the latest episode of the Let's Talk, the Jewish Chronicle podcast, Phillips said:"So, you know, the positions I've taken over a vast number of topics have upset, offended, alienated, cheesed off, and brassed off so many people who have potentially had the power to affect my professional life that there’s no point trying to work out, you know which of them has done me the most damage.

When asked if the response to some of her more controversial views still bothers her, she said: "If you prick me, Do I not bleed? Of course it affects me.

People have this assumption that, you know, because I say stuff as I see it and I give no quarter as people see it that I am not affected.

"They believe that I am not really human. It affects me very badly, it upsets me a great deal because it's vicious, it's unjust, it's frightening,mand I really don't enjoy it.

"I do not enjoy the cut and thrust."

The columnist and broadcaster, who bought a home in Jerusalem in 2005, also discussed how her connection to Israel has developed over time.

Asked by Simons if she had initially enjoyed being in Jerusalem, Phillips replied: “I thought it was so religious, so introverted, so tense and everyone was basically crazy.”

But, Phillips continued, that changed when she began to realise “how little” she knew about Judaism and the history of Jewish people.

“I had made judgments on the basis of fantastic ignorance and intolerance,” she said.

“I met a number of people through a number of different routes… and I started to become educated in what it is to be a Jew.”

As time went on, Phillips came to find the “romance of [Israel] intoxicating”, she said, though she maintained that in some ways, she could not imagine “a more insane place”.

During the conversation, Phillips also discussed her childhood and compared turning her back on left-wing British politics to leaving an abusive family.

“For many people, because there’s so much hatred on the left, they are almost naturally set to drift into the right.”

Let’s Talk: The JC podcast is available now on Apple, Spotify and all major platforms.

The JC apologises for an earlier version of this story, which gave an inaccurate impression by taking Melanie Phillips's comments out of context.

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