Labour vows to kick out Facebook racists as anti-Semitism row escalates

Cristina Cross
April 3, 2018

The former political secretary to Tony Blair said: "The thing he could do to prove he was dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, he could simply expelling Ken Livingstone. It has no place in our party", Izzard said.

Eight out of ten Labour members think anti-semitism in the party is exaggerated and more than six out of ten think the leadership is handling the issue well, according to a YouGov poll for The Times.

The personal social media account of Labour UK leader Jeremy Corbyn was deactivated, following criticism of Corbyn's defense of anti-Semitic caricatures, and revelations that Corbyn's account was a member of social media groups used to spread anti-Semitic propaganda.

"Although this isn't the manner in which I had hoped to join the NEC I'm honoured to step up and represent Labour members at the heart of our party", he said.

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"The Labour Party is committed to challenging and campaigning against anti-Semitism in all its forms".

The Sunday Times reported this week that twelve senior staff working for Corbyn and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, are members of Facebook groups containing antisemitic and violent comments, including praise for Adolf Hitler.

Labour has denounced the behaviour and distanced itself from the groups.

The organisation Jewish Voice for Labour said the groups highlighted by the Sunday Times did not represent the party.

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A spokesman for the Labour Party said: "These groups are not run by the Labour Party or officially connected to the party in any way". He also delivered a Passover message on Friday to further emphasize the Labour Party's support of the Jewish people.

On Sunday, Corbyn's personal Facebook account was deactivated, though his official public account remains active. On Facebook you can be added to a group without your knowledge.

On Thursday Corbyn told Jewish News that there had been 300 internal party referrals for anti-Semitism since 2015, around half of which led to expulsions or resignations. In 2012, Mr Corbyn posted a Facebook message backing the creator of a mural that included a number of anti-Jewish stereotypes.

The claims came as a Labour frontbencher warned there was "real alarm" at the scale of the problem -while comedian Eddie Izzard, who became a member of the party's ruling national executive committee (NEC), said they needed to "make amends" to the Jewish community. Corbyn noted afterward a worldwide rise in anti-Semitism, taking jabs at Poland, the National Front party in France, and "far right extremists" in the US, before offering an admission of guilt on behalf of his own party.

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Ms Shawcroft had already resigned as chairman of the disputes panel and had been under pressure to quit her post on the NEC after it emerged she opposed the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.

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