POLITICS
31/08/2018 17:31 BST | Updated 31/08/2018 17:42 BST

Jeremy Corbyn's Allies Back Drive To Call Out Anti-Semitism Online

It is hoped the social media push by leftwingers will crack down on the problem blighting party.

Victoria Jones - PA Images via Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn’s allies are backing a new drive by influential leftwing social media accounts to call out anti-Semitism among those claiming to support the Labour leader.

Pro-Corbyn groups like Momentum, as well as individuals with large followings, have in recent weeks mobilised the Left to combat anti-Jewish tropes and propaganda on the internet.

Those close to him have welcomed and encouraged the determined effort to root out the problem, but HuffPost UK understands that there is frustration in the leader’s office that the online abuse continues despite the pushback.

The campaign organisation has also been flagging and reporting anti-Semitic content in popular pro-Corbyn Facebook groups.

High profile Twitter accounts that support Labour leader, including Corbyn’s early social media guru Ben Sellers, have also condemned abuse and encouraged their large number of followers to do the same.

Corbyn’s office hope this strategy will cause the party’s base to take the issue more seriously and take a zero tolerance approach towards others who engage in anti-Semitism online.

Most of the people reported to the party are investigated are believed not to be Labour members - but their support for Corbyn still tarnishes the party

Labour has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism all summer, with some MPs and members blaming Corbyn for failing to do enough to tackle the problem.

Lord Sacks, the former former chief rabbi, has branded Corbyn himself an “anti-Semite” who “supported racists, terrorists, and dealers of hate”.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said Field’s decision to sit as an independent MP must serve as a “major wake up call” for the party.

And Labour MP Wes Streeting warned last night “anti-Semitism and the toxic political culture of our party” was close to becoming “a full-blown existential crisis”. 

A Labour Party source said: “While Jeremy Corbyn, the Party, Momentum and other prominent people on the left have repeatedly denounced anti-Semitism and party processes have been strengthened to tackle it, there are some claiming to be supporters who have continued to make anti-Semitic comments online.

“Our grassroots is playing a vital, every day role, to create a zero tolerance approach and actively provide political education on social media to combat these online anti-Semites who must be challenged and whose support we don’t want.”

The row could be re-ignited next week when the party announces the results of elections to its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday.

Momentum dumped activist Peter Willsman from its list of nine preferred candidates in July when he criticised British rabbis who had complained about anti-Semitism.

However Willsman is still in the running for a position on the powerful body and told HuffPost UK members should vote for him to defend Corbyn against “unjust attacks and smears”.