Opposition Leader Condemns Anti-Semitic Campaign

UK Opposition Leader Ed Miliband condemns Neo-Nazi-led campaign against MP Luciana Berger, urges social media firms to do more.

Cynthia Blank ,

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband, Leader of the British Labour Party and the Opposition in Parliament, has come out against the "vile" campaign of anti-Semitic abuse targeting colleague, Labour MP Luciana Berger. 

Berger, Britain's Shadow Health Minister, has received hundreds of anti-Semitic messages and pictures on Twitter over the past 10 days since the conviction and imprisonment of Garron Helm.

On August 7, Helm published a tweet featuring a Holocaust-era yellow star superimposed on the MP’s forehead with the hashtag “Hitler was right”.

Helm pled guilty to sending an offensive, indecent or obscene message and was sentenced to four weeks in jail. He was also ordered to pay an £80 ($129) victim surcharge as the crime was racially motivated. 

The prosecution against Helm is believed to be the first for anti-Semitic activity on Twitter and has been lauded as a new weapon in the battle against online racism.

However, since the verdict, Berger has fallen victim to a systematic campaign of hate. A far-right website in the United States provides Twitter users with suggestions of racist hashtags and messages to send to her. She has also received death threats.

Ed Miliband said of the hate campaign: “The anti-Semitic abuse that Luciana Berger has experienced over recent days is utterly appalling and has absolutely no place in our country. We must have no tolerance for this vile and abusive behavior wherever we find it."

“The last Labour government passed laws to stop incitement to racial hatred - it is right that those laws are enforced to the fullest possible extent by the police and crown prosecution service."

Miliband also directly addressed social media companies calling on them to do more to clamp down on anti-Semitism. “I would also urge social media companies to do more to proactively take down such vile abuse where there is clear evidence of an orchestrated campaign of incitement.”

A number of other top Labour politicians and officials have spoken out against the abuse hurled at Berger, as well as praised her for her impressive contributions, UK Jewish News reported. 

John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism is leading the push for Twitter to take action. He has secured a debate in Parliament on the issue of social media next Tuesday.