Anti-Semitic Social Media Targets Jewish MP
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Anti-Semitic Social Media Targets Jewish MP

A torrent of anti-Semitic tweets and emails – including a death threat — to Luciana Berger, a Jewish member of the British parliament, has prompted a parliamentary debate tomorrow [Tuesday] on the matter.

Many of the Twitter messages carried hashtags and images created by an American-based website that urged supporters to join “Operation: Filthy Jew Bitch,” according to the Jewish Chronicle.

It all began two weeks ago after a 21-year-old man with links to an anti-Semitic group was jailed for four weeks after sending offensive, obscene and indecent anti-Semitic tweets to Berger. The tweets included a photo of Berger with a Holocaust yellow star superimposed on her forehead with the words, “You can always count on a Jew to show their true colors eventually.” They contained the hashtag, “Hitler was right.”

His defense attorney argued that the man came from a troubled family. But the judge was unimpressed, noting that the man had sent the message to others first and that police found in his home a Nazi insignia and a flag of the extremist right-wing group National Action.

Berger issued a statement saying the sentence “sent a clear message that hate crime is not be tolerated in our country.”

But the jailing only sparked a rash of copycat tweets – more than 400. One contained only the German word “Jude,” the German word for Jew. Other anti-Semitic tweets were sent to another Jewish member of parliament, Louise Ellman. Both a members of the opposition Labour Party.

Tweets read: “Two Jews in a shtetl. Family tree is a knot. … #Inbred Jews. … #Expel the Jews. … Only two places for Jews. The desert or in hell with their father the devil.”

The Jewish Chronicle said the American-based neo-Nazi website encouraging the offensive tweets provides a user guide on how to harass Berger, even including “dos’ and “don’ts,” such as warning people not to “call for violence, threaten the Jew b—h in any way.”

Instead, it suggested they “call her a Jew communist, call her a terrorist, call her a filthy Jew b –h. Call her a hook-nosed y—and a ratfaced k–. Tell her we do no want her in the UK, we do not want her or any other Jew anywhere in Europe. Tell her to go to Israel and call for her deportation to said Jew state.”

Berger, 33, a former director of the Labor Party’s Friends of Israel group who became the youngest member of parliament when she was elected in 2012, has not commented about the barrage of offensive tweets but is said by friends to feel isolated. She is reportedly in line for a cabinet post if Labor wins next year’s election.

Labor Leader Ed Miliband, who is himself Jewish, has condemned the anti-Semitic attacks, calling them “utterly appalling” and urging social media companies to do more to tackle the problem.

“The antisemitic abuse that Luciana Berger has experienced over recent days is utterly appalling and has absolutely no place in our country,” he said. “We must have no tolerance for this vile and abusive behaviour 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.

“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.”

stewart@jewishweek.org

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