British Labour Party suspends members of secret Facebook group over anti-Semitic posts


(JTA) — The United Kingdom’s Labour Party suspended several members of a private Facebook group that included the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over alleged anti-Semitic hate speech.

Reports in the British media Thursday did not name those who were suspended. The group had thousands of members.

A spokesperson for Corbyn, a left-wing politician whom many Jews accuse of tolerating anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks, stressed in a comment to The Guardian on Thursday that Corbyn is not alleged to have said anything anti-Semitic in the group, which he left in 2015. The spokesperson also said that Corbyn should not be held accountable for the discourse.

“As anyone knows, in social media all sorts of things are posted which often others participating aren’t even aware of,” the spokersperson, who was not named, was quoted as saying.

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Content from the Palestine Live group was revealed in a 250-page dossier looking at the posts and profiles of members of the group compiled by David Collier, whose blog is about anti-Semitism. Some of the posts include links to Holocaust denial myths, allegations of Israel’s involvement in the 9/11 and other terror attacks and the training of Islamic State fighters, as well as conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.

Corbyn posted several times in the group after being tagged in posts. He left the group around the time he became Labour leader, although the party has not confirmed whether it was before or after he won the leadership contest, or what motivated his departure, The Guardian noted.

Corbyn according to The Guardian said that his posts were limited to some replies, including “a suggestion on the vote on recognizing Palestine, which I supported, and inviting a doctor to speak at an event.”

Corbyn added that he had not seen the anti-Semitic posts on the group.

“Had I seen it, of course, I would have challenged it straight away, but I actually don’t spend all my time reading social media,” he said during a visit to Derbyshire.

“I have never trawled through the whole group. I have never read all the messages on it. I have removed myself from it,” he told the Press Association. “Obviously, any anti-Semitic comment is wrong. Any anti-Semitism in any form is wrong.”

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