UK Labour suspends members over anti-Semitic Facebook page

Labour party suspends several members of private Facebook group that included leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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Ben Ariel, Canada,

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

The United Kingdom’s Labour party has suspended several members of a private Facebook group that included the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over alleged anti-Semitic hate speech, JTA reported on Friday.

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

The Facebook group first became public earlier this week in a 280-page report by activist and blogger David Collier. The report claims to unearth a sordid 3,000-strong social media network of anti-Semitism on the left that includes prominent public commentators and politicians including Corbyn.

According to Collier, Corbyn was a member of the “Palestine Live” group at the time he was elected Labour leader in 2015. The group hosted people such as Max Blumenthal, a controversial speaker accused of anti-Semitism.

A spokesperson for Corbyn stressed in a comment to The Guardian on Thursday that Corbyn is not alleged to have said anything anti-Semitic in the group. 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 spokesperson, who was not named, was quoted as saying.

Corbyn posted several times in the group after being tagged in posts, according to Collier’s report. 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 stressed. “Obviously, any anti-Semitic comment is wrong. Any anti-Semitism in any form is wrong.”

Corbyn has increasingly come under fire for his failure to properly deal with the anti-Semitism within the ranks of the Labour party.

Over the last several years, dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements.

Corbyn himself been criticized in the past due to his calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.

In 2016, however, the Labour leader said that he regretted making those comments.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)