JVL statement on antisemitic posts on social media

JVL statement on antisemitic posts on social media

As a Jewish organisation of Labour Party members, we are appalled and sickened at antisemitic posts which have been pointed out on social media. We would never tolerate such posts among our members, nor any form of racism or other bigotry. In fact, in the last few weeks, our members have also been subject to abusive attacks on social media and by email. Where hate crimes appear to have been committed, we urge people to report them to the police.

We note that the Sunday Times has drawn attention to some antisemitic posts in Facebook groups which claim to support Jeremy Corbyn. We must emphasise that these groups do not represent us nor the Labour Party, and we have no control over them.

We note also that there may well be members of these groups who have been signed up to them without their knowledge, and who have never participated in them. Furthermore, among the very large number of members, and the much larger number of posts, these represent a very tiny proportion. They may never have been noticed by some of those who participated in good faith in these groups.

Nevertheless, we would urge our members, and all members of the Labour Party, to challenge all such bigotry when they see it.

The Labour Party is committed to equality, fairness and the eradication of all forms of racism. We are proud, as Jewish socialists, to be drawing on a long tradition in our communities as part of that project.

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Postscript, 2 April 2018

We have been criticised, and accept, that we didn’t begin to understand the problems that Corbyn supporters’ groups with many thousands and thousands of members face in monitoring the posts, comments, and comments on comments, that flood in every day. We are happy to withdraw any implication that they don’t try hard to deal with the issue of hate posts and now recognise they are very successful in doing so given that the 2000 incidents identified represent a very tiny percentage of posts and comments on these groups. We understand that they find any hate posts just as abhorrent as we do and have invited Wendy Patterson to write an article for our website on the work of these groups.

Comments (17)

  • Javier Farje says:

    Brilliant response to such vile abuse. Proud to be a member of Jewish Voice for Labour.

  • Dave says:

    +1 from me.

  • Cyril Wheat says:

    Well done JVL.

  • David WATSON says:

    And so say all of us! Standing four-square behind Jeremy Corbyn and all opponents of genuine racism including antisemitism.

  • Jason Hall says:

    If only these so-called anti-racist warriors focused on the very real instances of racism & discrimination in society instead of using the issue to attack Corbyn’s leadership.

  • Paul Fisher says:

    I help admin the we trust and support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Facebook group, we are a very tightly admin’d Facebook group, as a Jew I do not, unsurprisingly, allow any anti semitism on our page, posts are deleted immediately and posters warned or banned

  • Barry Rodin says:

    An excellent response in these dark and harrowing times. JVL has been a beacon of light in the past 10 days, with excellent blogs and insightful analysis.

    Progressive forces in the Labour Party should use this experience to become stronger and more united in the struggle against reactionary forces, all forms of racism and making the Labour Party an inclusive and democratic organisation.

  • David Nissen says:

    In these times of extreme political conditions, genuine Socialist organisations will no doubt be infiltrated by ‘agent provocateurs’ who can join various Facebook and other social media outlets to insert antisemitic comments for the Capitalist media to jump on. This is to try to destroy the politics of the left.

    Lets all be aware and vigilant.

  • Sol Picciotto says:

    I’m sorry, but I think that the first two paragraphs of this statement unnecessarily give credence to the flimsy story in the Sunday Times. There’s certainly plenty to be appalled and sickened about on social media, but this statement is specifically directed at the story about Corbyn support groups. Out of many hundreds of thousands of posts on these groups, the ST story claims to have found some 2000 using abusive language, and cites less than a half-dozen which could be described as anti-semitic. It names two people as authors of such posts, both of whom the reporters acknowledge have been expelled from the Labour Party. But it also cites, as examples of “extreme” and “hate filled” posts, statements which are strong denunciations of Blairites and Zionists. Such language may be regrettable, but it is far from appalling or sickening. Other cited posts or comments are just puerile, e.g. “why don’t you kill yourself”. But the story then lumps in and also attacks a couple of comments from Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi which, taken in context, seem entirely defensible.

    The statement should have given much greater emphasis to the point in the third paragraph, that the reprehensible posts seem to have been an extremely tiny proportion. On this ridiculous foundation the paper has erected an attack on “Corbyn’s Hate Factory”. If they want the story to be taken seriously they should make the entire dossier publicly available for analysis.

    We should not dignify this scurrilous stuff by seeming to accept that it is based on sound evidence unless it is verifiable.

  • Leon says:

    Alan Bull is widely reported to be a member of JVL. Elleanne Green is widely reported to be a member of JVL, and was at your counter-protest last week. They have both posted antisemitic things on social media

    • Mike Cushman says:

      We are intrigued. We keep on reading in Facebook posts and tweets that so and so is a member, or even an active member, of JVL.Our membership list is not public and is kept in an encrypted file. So this leads to one of two possibilities

      1. Our list has been hacked, we use good amateur security but that is not proof against professional hacking. However, if we have been hacked then why are many of the names quoted those of people who are not and never have been members of JVL In that case the posters are deliberate liers

      2. We have not been hacked and the posters are just making it up.

      These trolls also claim to know how many of our members are Jewish but they get that wrong all the time. If such basic elements of their stories are fictions why should anyone believe anything they say?

  • Richard Kuper says:

    Postscript, 2 April 2018

    We have been criticised, and accept, that we didn’t begin to understand the problems that Corbyn supporters’ groups with many thousands and thousands of members face in monitoring the posts, comments, and comments on comments, that flood in every day. We are happy to withdraw any implication that they don’t try hard to deal with the issue of hate posts and now recognise they are very successful in doing so given that the 2000 incidents identified represent a very tiny percentage of posts and comments on these groups. We understand that they find any hate posts just as abhorrent as we do and have invited Wendy Patterson to write an article for our website on the work of these groups.

  • Ian Saville says:

    We would also accept Sol’s point above that our statement gives too much credence to the prominence given to the tiny number of posts identified in the ST article. To some extent we were following the lead set by the Labour leadership, but it would have been good if we had taken more time to process this information before responding. Very difficult to do in the febrile atmosphere that was developing, but we are learning.

  • GaryK says:

    Mike

    Given your response about Green and Bull and the issue of their membership of JVL not being public and possiblity of being hacked, you did forget a third option, that they themselves might have told people they are members? It seems that you are indulging in a conspiracy theory were one might not exist.

    Would it be fair to say that if they were members of JVL, that as an organisation you would suspend and investigate the allegations?

    • Mike Cushman says:

      Gary

      Given the abuse, and too often threats of violence, that many people are receivng when accused, correctly or incorrectly, of antisemitism JVL does not comment of how we handle individual cases that are brought to our attention.

      We investigate all allegations of substance and take action when there is a good basis for the allegations.

      Organisations do not normally comment on internal displinary procedures, whatever the baying of a media mob may demand; indeed to do so would breach privacy law.

      JVL follows normal practice.

  • Howard Cohen says:

    I most definitely condemn antisemitism as I do all racism, but the statement above makes no mention of the McCarthysist witch hunts taking place to oust Corbyn, nor the fact that the great majority of the posts labelled in the press as anit-semitic are in fact posts that are critical of Zionism and Israel. By not referring to these facts, JVL risks distorting the context and propagating the fear mongering introduced by the Israel Lobby to discredit Corbyn and his supporters and which is clearly intended to prevent any and all criticism of the Zionist regimeand its oppression of Palestinians. This is problematic, to say the least! When will people have the courage to truly speak out against the Israel Lobby for their vile manipulation of the anti-semitism card? There are unfortunately pockets of genuine racism present in all realms of society, but I believe that it is a lot greater among Conservative voters on the whole than Labour voters. When will these Islamaphobic and anti-Semitic conservative followers and politicians be outed?

  • Frank Fisher says:

    Some of the supporters of the B of D and JLC rally last Monday were screaming ‘Kapos’ and ‘Seig Heil’ at their opponents. Given the large number of stewards and the abundant press presence this cannot have gone entirely unnoticed. However this very abusive behaviour and trivialisation of the Holocaust seems to have gone unreported and there has been no call for the organisers of the main rally to apologise for the behaviour of their supporters.

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