The Labour party has uncovered another anti-Semitic scandal as party members, including the leader Jeremy Corbyn were found to be members of an anti-Semitic Facebook group. Jeremy Corbyn was active in closed group ‘Palestine Live’ but argues that he did not see offensive posts and left the Facebook group in 2015. Labour has suspended various party members on the grounds that they had posted anti-Semitic messages to the group. Some of the posts on Palestine Live appear to include links to Holocaust denial myths, allegations of Israel’s involvement in the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks and the training of Islamic State fighters, and conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.
The Palestine Live Facebook group was founded in 2013 and was set up in a way that allowed administrators to add people to the group without their consent. Corbyn believes that he may have been added to the group by an acquaintance, who simultaneously added him as a Facebook friend when he was a backbench MP. Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Chris Williamson were members of the group, as were two former Liberal Democrat politicians, Baroness Jenny Tonge and former MP David Ward. Jacqueline Walker who has been suspended from the Labour party twice over allegations of anti-Semitism was also a member of the Facebook group.
The Labour Party have initiated disciplinary procedures, including suspensions, which have been handed to a number of members of Palestine Live who were found to be Labour members. However, it appears that at least one of the group members had been posing as a Labour member. Corbyn posted several times in the group after being tagged in a post. Corbyn left the group in 2015, 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.
Corbyn stated that his posts were limited to some replies, including “a suggestion on the vote on recognising Palestine, which I supported, and inviting a doctor to speak at an event”. He later added that he had not seen the other antisemitic 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 antisemitic comment is wrong. Any antisemitism in any form is wrong.”