Jeremy Corbyn has condemned “appalling” anti-Semitic abuse targeted at a Jewish MP, following his speech to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in parliament.
The Labour leader urged people to call out the ‘disgusting prejudice’ aimed at Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West.
The Jewish politician had addressed the House of Commons last week with an emotional speech – retelling the story of his family’s trauma in the Holocaust.
He said the Holocaust casts a “dark spectre” over his family with “all the relatives I never met, that never survived, the children they never had”.
His voiced cracked as he recalled asking his Tel Aviv-born father why his great aunt had numbers tattooed on her arm.
Sobel’s remarks came during a debate focused on Holocaust Memorial Day, but this was overshadowed by a stream of anti-Semitic abuse he received.
A video of the speech was posted on Channel 4’s Facebook page which received nearly 120,000 views. Abuse was posted in the comments section, with one user writing: “Lies lies lies… increase sympathy for apartheid Israel whilst over 70% of the world see them for who they are…….Good luck marrying into a zionist family, you are not one of them nor in their little elite club”.
Other abusive remarks called his story “b******s*”, “fake news”, and told him to “give it a rest”.
Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn took to Twitter to condemn the hateful responses to his speech, saying: “Appalling that Alex Sobel has received a stream of antisemitic abuse online after Channel 4 posted a video of his speech to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. We must root out this disgusting prejudice from our society.”
Appalling that @AlexSobel has received a stream of antisemitic abuse online after Channel 4 posted a video of his speech to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. We must root out this disgusting prejudice from our society.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 24, 2018
A Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said: “Sadly, Jewish Labour MPs are subject to an abhorrent volume of antisemitic abuse. It is encouraging that Jeremy Corbyn, along with many other Labour figures have expressed their solidarity with Alex and condemned this abuse.”
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Leeds North West MP said: “When I started as an MP, I was advised to ‘never read the comments’ – but when you see several hundred comments underneath a video of a speech that is so personal, it is hard not to scratch the itch. I was amazed how quickly I was dehumanised and my family stories were dismissed by those who like to hide behind social media. As an MP, I expect to receive a certain amount of abuse, especially online, but it did highlight to me the danger of such a mentality and its potential impact on vulnerable people.”
You can watch Alex’s speech here: