Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Shoah Denial and Revisionism in Facebook’s Left Wing Groups

Posted on: October 15, 2022

After the 2019 General Election, a Corbynist line of attack against their opponents in and out of Labour, in the Jewish community and in the media, was that we lied about antisemitism. The typical inquisitor on Twitter asks for evidence of Mr Corbyn’s antisemitism. Only the least cautious ask for evidence of antisemitism from supporters of Corbyn as this is easier to provide. Mr Corbyn was careful for the duration of his leadership, often declaring himself against antisemitism in all its forms. The mural, the irony speech, the friendship for Hamas and Hezbollah, the ‘hand of Israel’ interview, the wreath, the alliances with Stephen Sizer, Raed Saleh and Paul Eisen, the celebrations of the Iranian Revolution, all these things occurred before he became leader of the Labour Party. His inadequacies in dealing with antisemitism have been written about in the EHRC report and, to some extent, in the Forde Report but I think it is fair to say that he exercised some care, while leader, to maintain plausible deniability in the face of very many accusations of antisemitism. No longer leader, Mr Corbyn is freer to speak his mind and suggested in a recent interview with the Al Mayadeen channel of Beirut that Benjamin Netanyahu played a part in his downfall.

The position of Corbynist orthodoxy is that Zionists stopped Corbyn being elected, because he was a supporter of the Palestinian cause. How did we manage this? A frequent suggestion is that we subborned the media but there are more inventive theories involving Rothschild bankers, vote rigging, that we held Corbyn responsible for his supporters’ hostility towards Jews (a reaonable hypothesis) and, above all, that we conflated anti Zionism with antisemitism. There is a continual search for ‘proofs’ of a Zionist conspiracy. A video was circulated of a Jewish activist saying after the last General Election ‘We did it!’ – interpreted on Corbynist social media to mean that we did it through undemocratic subterfuge, rather than through the same electioneering practised by any other activist during an election campaign.

A delegate addressing a Board of Deputies meeting said that Labour would have to sacrifice Corbyn if they hoped to win a General Election. The speaker meant clearly that a different leader would be more likely to win an election. Every Corbynist forum I saw insisted that this speaker had advocated the murder of Corbyn as a human sacrifice, just as farmyard animals were sacrificed in Temple times.

Just recently, Al Jazeera has presented The Labour Files, in which the Labour Party under Starmer’s leadership is called ‘a criminal conspiracy’ and various activists against antisemitism are named as conspirators.

Daily, a Twitter eccentric called Simon Maginn posts a hashtag he invented, ‘It was a scam,’ meaning to say that talk of antisemitism was a cynical ploy of Zionists to stop a supporter of Palestine being Prime Minister. ”Everyone knows it was a scam,’ he insists. ‘It’s been proven. You’re busted. Will you continue with this scam or will you stop scamming and apologize? Yes or no?’ On one occasion, he assured us – the alleged scammers – ‘We’re coming for you.’ Sussex police were called in. Mr Maginn said that they were scammers too.

The scope of the present blog post is narrow, based on my observance of left wing Facebook groups to which I have access. Some are public groups; others are private and I joined them using a nom de guerre. I have been blocked by some groups for contradicting their statements about Jews, Israel and antisemitism and this includes several unofficial Labour Party forums, created during Corbyn’s leadership.

Not all the groups are avowedly Corbynist, an exception being PAIS, Palestinian and Irish Solidarity, which, as its name suggests, focuses on Ireland and the Middle East, rather than Westminster or Islington.

Truthers Against Zionist Lobbies were emphatically pro-Corbyn until they were removed by Facebook for antisemitism, possibly because they had come to the notice of Jennie Formby, then General Secretary of the Labour Party. The administrators of the Truthers group are mentioned for their antisemitism in the so-called Leaked Report of April 2020. They re-established themselves four months later without the header photo of Corbyn, replacing it with a meme of an Israeli flag overlaid with the words ‘Israel has no history, only a criminal record’.

We Support Jeremy Corbyn was different from other similar groups by having at least two moderators who recognized the antisemitism of some comments and intervened against them. However, there are still many antisemitic outpourings in their group and I imagine that it is a losing battle to keep them in check. I appreciate the moderators’ attempts to contain this aspect of their forum. It shows that the connection between Corbynism and antisemitism is empirical not a priori; in other words, they are not inevitably found together but, in practice, there is often a convergence.

As I have written before, the original posts on the JVL forum, while inimical to Zionism, are seldom overtly antisemitic but the supportive comments are almost inevitably so and they are never contradicted by the JVL moderators.

Holocaust revisionism works differently from denial, accepting that the Shoah occurred but arguing that Jews or Zionists were complicit with Nazism; that Churchill was worse than the Nazis or that Israel is worse. The numbers of dead in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (several thousands, over the years) are occasionally multiplied to make the number of Palestinians killed match the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The screen shots below are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. They display threads and comments which I have seen, in some Facebook groups but I am not on TikTok or Instagram. I take it as read that far right groups will be replete with Shoah denial and Hitler fandom. These screen shots are just a part of what I see on Corbynist, Fenian or far left social media. Very rarely does any participating comrade object to overt Holocaust denial. It is more usual for the denials to stimulate further comments, along the same lines.

Next time an antagonist on Twitter asks you to provide ‘just one piece of evidence’ of left antisemitism, I hope you will consider linking them to this post.

Appendix

My finding is that Facebook permits Holocaust denial and hate speech.

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4 Responses to "Shoah Denial and Revisionism in Facebook’s Left Wing Groups"

It’s scary that this is allowed to flourish online and in society. Perhaps a zero tolerance law, or including holocaust denial as part of any hate speech bill should be the response from government. Or direct laws, such as in Germany, outlawing holocaust denial. People may say, “It’s only a fringe thing”, forgetting how quickly the “fringe” can become the mainstream.

I can never make up my mind whether it should be illegal and tend to think it shouldn’t be. On the other hand, social media could do more to stop it proliferating. I’ve often reported overt Holocaust denial to Facebook and they reply that it doesn’t go against their community standards. I think I’ll add their replies to this post as an appendix.

Gillian

Thorough research as always. I always keep these posts and hit any challenge between the eyes. They represent a real armoury of evidence.

Blessed to have such a good companion.

Keith

>

Thank you for reading it Keith. As always,
I value your opinion.

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Thank you for reading it Keith. As always, I value your opinion.
  • keithmarr: Gillian Thorough research as always. I always keep these posts and hit any challenge between the eyes. They represent a real armoury of evidence. Bl
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: I can never make up my mind whether it should be illegal and tend to think it shouldn't be. On the other hand, social media could do more to stop it p
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