Why sorry seems to be the hardest word . . . to accept

Mike Cohen
3 min readMay 24, 2022


Jewish Telegraph, May, 2022

APOLOGY: The Subways, from left, Camille, Charlotte and Billy

“WHAT can I do? Do you want me on my knees? What shall I give? One hundred more apologies.”
Never have the lyrics of Billy Lunn been so apt.
Lunn, frontman of indie rock band The Subways, was the subject of a Twitter pile-on this week after he used an antisemitic term in a tweet.
Once it had been pointed out to him, he deleted the tweet, issued an apology and said he would seek education to ensure this never happened again.
Such a refreshing response in a time when the likes of Wiley and Roger Waters never apologise for their ignorant comments, but just reply with more hate.
The drama started when Lunn tweeted that rapper Lowkey was “doing something right because he ‘upset Israel’.
He deleted the tweet, but then changed it to a “Jewish lobby in Britain”.
When he was told that the “Jewish lobby” was an antisemitic term, he immediately deleted the tweet and wrote: “Just listened to someone and did the research, and the phrase ‘Jewish lobby’ is antisemitic.
“I’ve now fully educated myself on how and why, and I’ll never ever use it again! Many thanks to those who pointed this out, and many apologies to those I may have harmed in the usage! BL.”
But this wasn’t good enough for a lot of people. They continued to lay into Lunn.
I’ve followed The Subways since the release of debut album Young for Eternity in 2005.
I’ve bought all their albums (some autographed) and seen them multiple times in concert.
I follow all three band members — Lunn, Charlotte Cooper and Camille Phillips — on all social media platforms.
I know that Lunn is very left-wing, a Corbynite and pro-Palestinian.
But just being pro-Palestinian doesn’t make someone a Jew-hater, in the same way that not all people who support Jeremy Corbyn are antisemitic.
As Lunn replied to me on Twitter: “100% believe in Israel’s right to exist! We just oppose the measures the State of Israel is taking against Palestinians.”
What the Israel-advocates don’t seem to understand is the general population sees things in the mainstream media or online and accepts them as fact.
We Jews, though, see the unedited videos before they are cut to portray Israel as aggressors.
It could be seen as a failing on our part that we don’t get the full truth out there. The pro-Palestinians are better propagandists than the pro-Israelis.
But back to the Lunn issue. He has said sorry and is willing to re-educate himself, so why the continued pile-on and bullying?
Can’t we accept his apology and send him links to resources to better educate himself?
Just constantly attacking him despite his apology is not the Jewish way. While I don’t profess to be an expert, isn’t forgiveness a major part of Judaism?
There are also the belittling comments of “who?” and “never heard of The Subways”. There is no need. They are a successful group with a large fanbase and a new album coming out this year.
For those who say they have never heard anything by them, their song Rock & Roll Queen was used to great effect in a recent Ladbrokes commercial.
Billy’s followers on Twitter know that he has had a tough time in his personal life recently, so perhaps we can show him some compassion, especially since he has apologised and owned his mistake.
If I listened to just musicians whose political views I shared, my playlist would be very short.



Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories