Police have launched an investigation after the Jewish founder of PinkNews received hundreds of anti-Semitic and homophobic messages online.

Benjamin Cohen tweeted that he had read “gay inclusive book” about a prince finding a same sex partner to his two young nieces, but within hours faced a barrage of hate-fuelled abuse. Some of those responsible have also targeted other high-profile Jewish figures.

He said he had wanted to make public a “lovely moment” with his sister and was shocked at the reaction. Although he had previously been targeted online, he told Jewish News it had never been “so vitriolic” or in such numbers, which he estimated to be in excess of 300 in the space of less than a day.

One message said: “If all Jews would go gay and lesbian we’d all be happy. Would save on our gas bill later.” Another said “Can’t survive an AIDS shoah.” He was also accused of “child abuse” and “perversion”.

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Benjamin Cohen antisemitic

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Saying he had also approached Twitter executives in the hope the microblogging platform would block some accounts, he added: “There seems to be a license on Twitter to say these things with a degree of impunity. Some of those accounts do nothing but tweet abuse to Jewish and gay people. It makes me question the level of policing twitter has in place.”

Cohen – who was due to give a police statement today – said: “I don’t know what can be done but if they’re in the UK some of these are approached and questioned were possible.”

Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers commented: “That is truly shocking. I find it appalling that people use the anonymity of social media to inflict this kind of vile anti-Semitic and homophobic abuse. I welcome the fact that the police will investigate this case.”

Jewish News spoke to Benjamin Cohen on the Jewish Views podcast this week. The full interview can be heard on this edition of the Jewish Views…