Like father, like son. This week, with Jeremy Corbyn still engulfed in the ugly row over anti-Semitism in the Labour Left, the Mail discovered a Nazi cartoon on the Facebook page of his 24-year-old youngest son, Tommy.
The image — of an arm marked with the Star of David crushing people — was put on the site earlier this month, after Corbyn Jnr, a prominent Labour activist, uploaded a post asking: ‘Why is it that I can critique my own, or any government, but criticism of the Israeli state is immediately branded anti-Semitic?’
Facebook users had replied with a host of racially offensive comments, with one remarking that ‘Hitler was a Zionist’ and another claiming that Israel is an ‘Apartheid state’ and that ‘A-S [anti-Semitism] is being weaponised to destroy any debate’.
Like father, like son. This week, with Jeremy Corbyn still engulfed in the ugly row over anti-Semitism in the Labour Left, the Mail discovered a Nazi cartoon on the Facebook page of his 24-year-old youngest son, Tommy (pictured)
The vile cartoon was then uploaded to Tommy Corbyn’s feed by an individual with ‘I’m voting Labour’ on his Facebook profile picture.
None of these highly questionable posts was either challenged or deleted by the Opposition leader’s son for more than a fortnight, even when one of his friends told him ‘that’s a Nazi cartoon’.
Indeed, it wasn’t until the Mail had contacted Labour seeking comment that he felt inclined to speak out about them.
Hours later, Tommy finally spoke up, posting: ‘Hitler wasn’t a Zionist. It’s wrong to say so and offends a lot of people.’ He also described the Star of David image as a ‘disgusting anti-Semitic image’.
Tommy Corbyn – pictured with grime artist Stormzy – liked a website that reported an Israeli colonel was arrested for leading ISIS militants
Corbyn Jnr is an engineering graduate who spent four months of 2016 working for his father’s campaign to be re-elected as Labour leader, and who, prior to last year’s general election, produced the film shown at the Labour manifesto launch. So it’s fair to assume their political views are closely aligned.
Like any young man, he is entitled to learn from his mistakes, and — though he has yet to apologise — many reasonable observers will feel inclined to forgive this one-off social media aberration.
Except that this was not, actually, a one-off aberration.
Almost two years ago, while researching an article on far-Left anti-Semitism, I was advised by a prominent Jewish group to take a look at the Facebook activity of the Labour leader’s son, then studying electrical engineering at York University.
In his spare time, Tommy Corbyn turned out to be events manager for York’s Palestinian Solidarity Society, which had recently had its bank accounts frozen by the Co-op, apparently because of concerns regarding its potential links to extremism.
The Society and its members had just sparked an ugly row over anti-Semitism on campus by staging Seven Jewish Children, a highly controversial 2009 play which links the Holocaust to more recent events, and discusses the killing by Jews of Arab children in Gaza.
According to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who complained when it was first staged at the Royal Court theatre in London, the play is ‘horrifically anti-Israel’, while the Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson has described it as ‘Jew-hating, plain and simple’.
In the Spectator magazine, it has been dubbed an ‘open incitement to hatred’ and a ‘ten-minute blood libel’.
Tommy Corbyn’s social media activity took him into even muddier waters than his promotion of the play. For he turned out to be a member of at least three anti-Semitic Facebook groups, many of them filled with deeply offensive and obscene content.
One was called ‘End the Royal Family and their £40m+ per year’.
The news outlet has made its thoughts on the Labour row clear by claiming Corbyn has not done enough to quell anti-Semitism in the party
Its feed contained photoshopped images of the comedian David Walliams defecating onto the head of the Queen, a cartoon suggesting Prince Philip is a paedophile, and links to a deeply anti-Semitic conspiracy site claiming that the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their son George are secretly Jewish, and that the ‘Jewish’ Royal Family is ‘running the world’ in conjunction with the Rothschild banking dynasty.
Another group to count him as a member was ‘Supporters of Socialism in Britain’. This included posts saying ‘f*** the royals’, and urging members to ‘honour Ireland’s patriot dead’ by wearing a lily in their lapel at Easter in support of the IRA (a cause that’s always been close to the hearts of Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell).
It also contained posts dubbing the Israeli government ‘terrorists’ and alleging a second anti-Semitic conspiracy: that the ‘true origin’ of the Islamic State group was ‘that it was founded by Jews in order to persuade Western governments to intervene in the Middle East’.
The third group was a page dedicated to Ken O’Keefe, a U.S. commentator often accused of anti-Semitism. It contained a post claiming that the 9/11 attacks were organised by Israel ‘so they could get American kids to fight and die in their genocidal wars of expansion’. It also featured an article claiming that the ‘Zio [Zionist] controlled mainstream media is constantly portraying everything about North Korea in a negative light’ because of the murderous dictator Kim Jong-un’s previous opposition to Israel.
And it had lengthy posts discussing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a well-known fake conspiracy about an alleged Jewish plot to take over the world.
In addition to his membership of these groups, Tommy Corbyn had also ‘liked’ — a social media term for endorsed — content from a further six outlets which contained anti-Semitic content.
They included firstly Anti New World Order, a news site which contained articles reading ‘Busted! Israeli IDF colonel arrested in Iraq for leading ISIS militants’, and a picture of the Earth with a blue Star of David emblazoned over it and a caption that read ‘the new world of Zionism is almost here. One government. One currency. One religion. Act Now!!!’
Secondly, he ‘liked’ the home page of David Icke, the former TV sports presenter and now anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist famous for his claim that the world is controlled by a secret cabal of shape-shifting alien lizards.
(Ironically, the street artist Mear One — whose anti-Semitic mural in East London Jeremy Corbyn was revealed to have defended, sparking this week’s controversy — agreed a couple of days ago to give an exclusive interview to Mr Icke.)
Tommy Corbyn had also liked a third site called Cloaked Truth, which claims the Rothschild banking family ‘rule the world’ in conjunction with the British monarchy and the Vatican, along with a fourth called MintPress News, a U.S. outlet which has published comments about ‘Zio Nazis’ controlling the U.S. government, and falsely alleges that ‘the majority of Congress and senators are Jews’.
He’d also ‘liked’ content on Press TV, the Iranian channel now banned in the UK by Ofcom, and Russia Today, the Kremlin-sponsored network which has accused Israel of using ‘Hitler’s methods’ to maintain a Jewish majority.
Then there was Friends of Al-Aqsa, a Leicester-based group whose founder has claimed ‘Hamas is no terrorist organisation’, and whose website has published articles by Israel Shamir, a man once described by The Guardian as being ‘notorious for Holocaust denial’. Corbyn Jnr ‘liked’ that outfit, too.
It was, all told, a pretty grim array of content for anyone — least of all the son of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition — to be even remotely connected with.
Yet when I asked Tommy Corbyn if he wished to denounce these numerous anti-Semitic remarks, or offer any explanation as to how he’d come to join or endorse such rackety Facebook groups, no substantive response was forthcoming. Instead, he instructed a lawyer to issue a statement reading: ‘Of course Tommy is not anti-Semitic, and to say otherwise is plain wrong.’
Then he quietly quit the Facebook groups which had spewed out the racist content.
No apology was issued, just as none was forthcoming from him yesterday.
When it comes to his relationship with hard-Left anti-Semitism on social media, it seems Jeremy Corbyn’s son is very much a chip off the old block.