Nicola Sturgeon urged to probe ‘vile antisemitic blog’ citing Jewish activist
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Nicola Sturgeon urged to probe ‘vile antisemitic blog’ citing Jewish activist

Calls made for Scottish leader to investigate online post which references the religion of GMB Union organiser Rhea Wolfson

Rhea Wolfson
Rhea Wolfson

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to launch an investigation into claims that SNP members promoted a “vile anti-Semitic blog” online.

A nationalist blog citing Mein Kampf and referencing the Jewish religion of GMB organiser Rhea Wolfson was shared extensively on social media.

It appeared on the SNP Edinburgh East Twitter page, Livingston East Facebook page and the campaign page of two West Lothian councillors.

On the “Grouse Beater” blog, a post entitled “GMB – a cockney clique” attacked the GMB and targeted Ms Wolfson.

It included references to Hitler “accusing ‘the Jew’ of gradually assuming leadership of the trade union movement” and said: “Hitler wanted a blindly obedient fighting force loyal only to the national leader of government.”

The author of the blog said the essay was an attack on fascism and that political opponents had “tried to make it sound sinister”.

The Scottish Labour Party and the GMB have written to the SNP leader urging her to take action over the post.

Labour wrote: “Our parties clearly have different views on the role of the trade union movement in Scotland, but regardless of that we should stand united against hatred and racism.

Nicola Sturgeon

“It is simply unacceptable that this vile anti-Semitic blog has been promoted by various SNP accounts.

“You should instigate an investigation into this immediately and suspend those SNP members, notably any elected member, pending an investigation.”

GMB Scotland said it would seek the advice of lawyers and Police Scotland with a view to further action.

GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: “On behalf of our trade union, I have been left with no other course of action but to contact Nicola Sturgeon, our lawyers and the authorities about this calculated attack on our employee, and asking them to intervene in their own respective capacities.

“Not only was the content of this blog absolutely wrong on numerous levels but more importantly, the author specifically targeted a young woman in a manner that was laced with anti-Semitism and hate on cultural, gender, political and trade union affiliation grounds – it was absolutely despicable and vile.

“A line has been crossed but let me be clear: the truth is it’s also a snapshot of a widespread problem of online hatred and intolerance that’s at best been left largely unchallenged and at worst is enabled by our politics. We must respond with some common purpose as to how we can credibly tackle this poisonous aspect of our political culture.

“We are sure Ms Sturgeon will agree with this, as will all elected representatives across our politics who respect the boundaries of what is decent and right, but everyone should be in no doubt that our union will vigorously defend our members, staff and its integrity against all attacks.”

In a tweet, the account for Livingston East SNP said: “Earlier tonight a link was posted from this account to an article which has been accused of anti-Semitism.

“Although we are sure the individual who posted the link holds no such views, the link was a bad misjudgment on their part.

“The linked article does not express the views of Livingston East SNP and the offending posts have been deleted from our accounts. The individual will no longer be posting on behalf on Livingston East SNP. We apologise for any offence caused.

“We consider the comparisons with Hitler offensive, particularly given @rheawolfson’s heritage. As a branch we offer sincere apologies to @rheawolfson for any offence caused by sharing this article.”

An SNP spokesman said: “The SNP is resolute in our unqualified condemnation of anti-Semitism in all its forms.

“The blog should not have been shared by any SNP member and Rhea Wolfson deserves a full apology from the author for the clear offence that has been caused.

“We will assess any complaints of anti-Semitism using the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition and all examples.”

The author of the Grouse Beater blog said: “The only sinister aspect to my essay is the way political opponents tried to make it sound sinister.

“They use the fascist language it warns about, anti-intellectual, portraying everything in terms of ‘them and us’.

“Ms Wolfson has been grievously misled. When advised what they were up to I strengthened the praise of her anti-Semitic stance in relation to Labour’s troubles.

“I believe in balance when writing about individuals, taught never to write anything about anybody you would not say to their face.

“In this case it’s quite a stretch for me to be anti-Semitic, brought up in Jewish family.”

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