Jewish Labour MP posts anti-Semitic abuse she received online
Luciana Berger makes public insults sent to her via Twitter, including images of lawmaker with enlarged nose, threats of rape, murder
Amid an ongoing row over anti-Semitism in Britain’s Labour Party, a Jewish member of parliament from the party published a series of tweets and private messages she received online in recent years which highlight the disturbing level of abuse endured by Jewish politicians in the United Kingdom.
According to the Daily Mail, shadow cabinet member Luciana Berger, 34, said she has been sent thousands of insults, including caricatures of her with a deliberately enlarged nose, as well as images of yellow stars reminiscent of the symbols Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.
The British politician tweeted a compilation of a number of such insults, some of which threatened to rape or kill her.
“For those in any doubt, this is just a little snapshot of what anti-Semitism in 2016 looks like,” read Berger’s tweet. “It is very real.”
For those in any doubt, this is just a little snapshot of what Antisemitism in 2016 looks like. It is very real. pic.twitter.com/aCImyG6OeC
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) April 28, 2016
The first anti-Semitic tweet Berger received was from neo-Nazi Garron Helm, 21, of Litherland, Merseyside, two years ago, the Daily Mail reported. Helm was jailed for four weeks following his tweet.
Subsequently, Berger received another 2,500 inflammatory messages, according to the British publication.
On Thursday, former London mayor Ken Livingstone said that Hitler supported Zionism “before he went mad,” and only several days earlier, fellow Labour MP Naz Shah was revealed to have posted a message on Facebook in 2014 calling for the dismantling of the State of Israel, and to have post pro-Hamas tweets and compared Israelis to Hitler.
Both have been suspended by the party.
Facing intense pressure over alleged anti-Semitism, Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn on Friday announced an independent review into racism within the party, less than a week before his leadership is tested by local elections.
“There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour Party, or anywhere in society,” Corbyn said. “We will make sure that our party is a welcoming home to members of all minority communities.”
Under intense criticism and calls to expel him over his claims on Hitler, Livingstone doubled down on the statements in subsequent interviews on Friday and Saturday, claiming he was making a “statement of fact.” He refused to apologize directly.
The Labour Party’s shadow chancellor MP John McDonnell told the BBC on Saturday that an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the party, as announced by Corbyn, would help set up a system to provide “guidance” and “training” for MPs and introduce a “procedure where we root out any form of anti-Semitism or any forms of racism.”
McDonnell said he wishes Livingstone would have “apologized for some of the offense that he’s caused,” admitting that the recent statements were a “setback” for the Labour Party.
The dispute over anti-Semitism in Labour has been simmering for months — since Corbyn was in September elected party leader by grassroots supporters, despite opposition from many MPs — with a stream of party officials shown to have made anti-Semitic statements.
Corbyn has himself been criticized in the past for referring to Lebanon’s powerful Shiite terror group Hezbollah as “friends” and urging dialogue with the Hamas Islamist terrorist group.