Anti-Semitism in Labour Party is "fueled" by Twitter accounts

A report by a Jewish watchdog group identifies 36 Twitter accounts which are the 'engine room' of denying Labour anti-Semitism.

Sara Rubenstein,

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Reuters

A report saying that a "flow of anti-Semitic tweets" from 36 pro-Labour Twitter accounts fuel anti-Semitism by using "hateful language to attack Jewish Labour MPs or other people who raise concerns about anti-Semitism" was released on Sunday.

The research for the report entitled “Engine of hate, the online networks behind the Labour party’s antisemitism crisis” was carried out by Jewish watchdog group Community Security Trust (CST) together with data science firm Signify.

The report called the 36 Twitter accounts "the engine room" which propelled the message that anti-Semitism in the Labour party is "exaggerated, weaponised, invented or blown out of proportion" and that "any mention of anti-Semitism is party of a conspiracy to smear Corbyn and Labour." A third of the accounts posted anti-Semitic content themselves.

One account identified by the report is the pro-Corbyn @SocialistVoice, which has over 66,000 followers. The account holder was kicked out of Labour for anti-Semitic tweets, including one about the "Jewish blood" in businesses, another one with an image of the BBC logo with a Star of David instead of the C, as well as another one with an image of an Israeli flag being torn away to reveal a swastika.

CST wrote that @SocialistVoice "claimed that he was the victim of antisemitism smears and that he wouldn’t be silenced in his support for Jeremy Corbyn, noting that his desire to re-join the party was entirely dependent on Corbyn still being present."

The Twitter accounts were all tied to Twitter networks that used hashtag campaigns to attacks MPs or other figures who criticized Labour for anti-Semitic views. One hashtag singled out Labour's deputy chief Tom Watson, who has spoken out strongly against Labour's lack of response to claims of anti-Semitism, with the hashtag #SackTomWatson.

“This report points to a deeply troubling online culture where antisemitic narratives have been allowed to take root,” Watson said in response to the report.

“I hope this intelligence is shared with the investigators at Labour HQ so that they can explain to the dominant faction that control our party’s national executive how a small group of prolific social media users can influence our internal discussions if they are not called out or dealt with swiftly.”

@SocialistVoice also responded to the report, writing: "Those of you who have chosen to unfollow or block the 36 Twitter accounts targeted by a right-wing, apartheid-sympathising 'charity,' shame on you. The smear campaign is designed to destroy the strong left-wing and Palestine solidarity movement on social media."

"The real people who are part of the #EngineOfHate are those who would rather have a Tory government," the tweet continued. "They do not care about social justice nor the burning injustices in Britain. Nor do they care about the racism, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses being committed by Israel."




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