January 18, 2019

British MP Warns of Growing Anti-Semitism on Social Media

Labour Party MP John Mann warned of growing anti-Semitism on social media platforms in a column for the New Statesman magazine.

The column, titled “I’m not Jewish but whatever I talk about I receive antisemitic abuse,” explained how Mann “received anti-Jewish abuse and an antisemitic death threat on social media” after a recent interview even though he didn’t mention anything about Jews or the Middle East in the interview.

“This isn’t the first time,” Mann wrote. “I can speak out about knife crime and drugs and the tweets come in – ‘who is paying you to do your work’ ‘Why don’t you admit you’re in the pay of the Israeli government’ and the like.”

Mann added that he has received similar attacks from supporters of the Labour Party and even from a Labour Party member; he proceeded to quote Times columnist Phillip Collins on “the problem of Left wing antisemitism and the obsessive hate of Israel.”

“It connects to a loathing of America and of capitalism and of alleged western interference in the Middle East,” Collins wrote. “For the uncomplicated racist, hatred of the undesirable people is the starting point. For the complicated, confused leftist, the denigration of a people is their conclusion.”

Mann then wrote of how online trolls denigrate those who speak out against racism and anti-Semitism.

“Anyone who calls out racism, or seeks to address anti-Jewish hatred is a target,” Mann wrote. “It’s even now the case that allegations of antisemitism are being inferred or created and attributed to Jews in order to try and diminish the charge when one has not been made. This of course, undermines victims of antisemitism and their right to define such abuse and call out the abusers.”

Mann noted that those who engage in that kind of behavior eventually descend into railing against Zionism and spewing Holocaust denialism.

“There is an antisemitic sickness, particularly afflicting the left, and it is spreading,” Mann wrote.

Mann concluded his column by noting that social media platforms have made it easier for those who embroil themselves in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to stay within “a self-edifying bubble”; he stated that he would propose a law that would punish social media companies that don’t purge racist posts from their sites and called on all politicians, including Labour Party members, to take a stand against anti-Semitism.

Read the full column here.