‘Vile’ anti-Semitic troll gets two-years for harassing Jewish MP

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

‘Vile’ anti-Semitic troll gets two-years for harassing Jewish MP

Far-right activist Joshua Bonehill-Paine has been sentenced to time behind bars, following a campaign of hate directed at Luciana Berger

Labour MP Luciana Berger arriving at the Old Bailey in London where blogger Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 23, of Yeovil, Somerset, is accused of harassing her by posting a series of anti-Semitic rants on the internet. (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Labour MP Luciana Berger arriving at the Old Bailey in London where blogger Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 23, of Yeovil, Somerset, is accused of harassing her by posting a series of anti-Semitic rants on the internet. (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

A “vile” troll who harassed a Labour politician in a string of anti-Jewish rants has been handed the maximum two-year jail sentence to send a message “loud and clear” in the wake of the murder of fellow MP Jo Cox.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, posted five hate-filled blogs “of the worst kind” about MP Luciana Berger in support of a jailed far-right extremist.

His harassment of the Liverpool MP came months before Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed by a neo-Nazi fanatic who had trawled far-right websites in his local library.

Jailing Bonehill-Paine, Mr Justice Spencer highlighted Ms Berger’s evidence in which she told jurors that she feared for her safety because she “knew what happened online did not always stay online”.

The judge said: “Subsequent tragic events this year in relation to her fellow Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, illustrate this truth.”

The jury at the Old Bailey found Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment on Wednesday following a three-day trial.

Stephen Silverman, of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Joshua Bonehill-Paine conducted a vile campaign of harassment against Luciana Berger based exclusively on the fact that she is Jewish.

“In so doing, he abused her with many well-worn anti-Semitic tropes that have been employed across centuries to justify the persecution of Jews.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine was found guilty of racially harassing the Jewish MP
Joshua Bonehill-Paine was found guilty of racially harassing Jewish MP Luciana Berger

“These included the Jew as Christ killer, the Jew as sexually deviant, the Jew as vermin and the Jew as a grasping money-grabber.

“This sentence should stand as a warning to those currently riding the wave of resurgent anti-Semitism that this kind of hateful behaviour is criminal, and that it will be severely dealt with by the law.”

The court heard he had a history of posting abuse on his “obnoxious” online newspaper leaving a trail of devastation in the lives of those he chose to “pick a dispute” with.

While he was posting abusive blogs on Ms Berger, Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, was on bail awaiting sentence for making false claims on Twitter that several people were paedophiles.

And while on police bail over the blogs, he stirred up racial hatred in a flyer for a neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green, north London.

He was jailed for three years and four months last December for the ad illustrated with a picture of Nazi death camp Auschwitz which promised “an absolute gas”.

Mr Justice Spencer told the defendant he had “amassed a formidable record of hate crime” at the age of just 24.

The judge also imposed a criminal behaviour order which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail to curb his internet activities.

Bonehill-Paine launched his attack on Ms Berger in retaliation for a four-week jail sentence for Garron Helm, then 21, from Merseyside, in October 2014. Helm had admitted sending a picture on Twitter depicting her with a holocaust-era Star of David on her forehead and the hashtag “Hitler was right”.

Between October 2014 and January 2015, Bonehill-Paine posted articles online calling her a “dominatrix” and “an evil money-grabber” with a “deep-rooted hatred of men”. He illustrated his posts with offensive pictures, including the anti-Jewish cliche of a rat with Ms Berger’s face superimposed on it. Bonehill-Paine hailed the “Filthy Jew Bitch Campaign” led by US white supremacist site Daily Stormer as “fantastically successful” after the MP was sent 2,500 tweets.

Prosecutor Philip Stott summarised a victim impact statement from Ms Berger in which she described the effect on her work and personal life as well as on her worried partner, staff and colleagues.

He said: “She deals with it very much in the context of receiving thousands of anti-Semitic and Nazi tweets and messages since the imprisonment of Garron Helm in October 2014.”

She described it as “very difficult emotionally” to view the messages depicting her as “devils, rats, witches and aliens” as well as clothed as a “Jewish concentration camp prisoner”.

As well as being called “many disgusting names”, she had also received death threats during the course of the hate campaign led by the Daily Stormer.

Mr Stott said she did not feel safe to travel and her partner had been left feeling “worried and helpless” in the face of the barrage of abuse.


Bonehill-Paine’s sentence comes just two weeks after neo-Nazi Thomas Mair was handed a whole life sentence for murdering mother-of-two Mrs Cox.




Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: