Derbyshire County Council's leader raises concerns about Jeremy Corbyn's past membership of controversial Facebook group

Labour has declined to comment after Derbyshire County Council's leader raised concerns about how Jeremy Corbyn used to be a member of a controversial online group.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 5:10 pm
Updated Friday, 9th March 2018, 5:20 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Alfreton. Picture by Brian Eyre.

Yesterday, during a visit to Derbyshire, Mr Corbyn said he ‘removed himself’ from the private Palestine Live Facebook group in 2015.

According to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the group allegedly included discussions of conspiracy myths about the Rothschild family and supposed Israeli involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as links to material produced by neo-Nazi groups.

Mr Corbyn said Labour ‘doesn’t tolerate’ anti-Semitism and he would have challenged any abusive posts if he had seen them.

His spokesman said there was no suggestion the socialist had made any anti-Semitic posts.

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Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of the Tory-led county council, said today: “Mr Corbyn didn’t raise a single concern about blatant anti-Semitism when he was part of the group.

“Does his silence mean consent?”

Coun Lewis also raised concerns about a number of allegations on the Labour Against Anti-Semitism Twitter page, including claims that Mr Corbyn, during his time as a member of Palestine Live, commented in a thread where a pejorative neo-Nazi term for Jews was used; that Mr Corbyn spoke regularly with a group administrator who claimed Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terror attack; and that Mr Corbyn commented in threads where Jews were called ‘invented’.

The Derbyshire Times put all of the above concerns and allegations to Labour and asked the party to respond by 5pm today.

However, we did not receive a response.

Yesterday, Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “Jeremy and the Labour Party are implacably opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and will take whatever necessary action to stamp it out in the Labour Party.

“I don’t think anyone is suggesting that anything that Jeremy has written in any Facebook group or anywhere else constitutes anti-Semitic comments.

“As I understand it, there were thousands of members of this group.

“As anyone knows, in social media all sorts of things are posted which often others participating aren’t even aware of.

“It is repugnant if there are anti-Semitic posts - and I gather there are.

“If they involve anyone to do with the Labour Party then investigation and disciplinary action will be taken.”

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said there was ‘no conceivable justification’ for Mr Corbyn’s involvement in the closed group and it would be filing a disciplinary complaint to the party against him.