, 16 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Holocaust denial in the Labour Party? John Pocock, who says he's a @UKLabour member in Rossendale & Darwen, reckons that the only #antisemitism in the party comes from its Jewish members. /1
He wrote that in response to one of those 'show me the evidence' posts, so popular last summer, where Labour members express their puzzlement or cynicism about the motives of those raising concerns about antisemitism in the party. /2
Most comments followed the usual pattern of bewilderment, denialism and conspiracy theories - orchestrated claptrap, criticising Israel isn't antisemitic, etc. John Pocock's contribution seemed to go further but still earned seven 'likes', including from the original poster. /3
Pocock's claim - that the only Labour members being antisemitic were the Jewish members - went without challenge from anyone else in the thread but unsettled me as it suggested he held some very negative attitudes towards Jewish people. So I looked up his Facebook profile. /4
It didn't take long to see where he was coming from. Comrade Pocock was rightly concerned about the plight of Palestinians in territories occupied by Israel. But his criticisms seemed directed at Jews not the Israeli government and they often referenced the #Holocaust. /5
John Pocock sceptically asked his followers if they could think of a reason to be "pro-Semite". He compared Israeli government policy to the Nazis and claimed the Labour Party had been infiltrated by Zionists. /6
Oh, and back to the Holocaust, he wasn't convinced it had happened anyway. He shared an article from the neo-Nazi Renegade Tribune website which described the WW2 genocide as a "hoax". /7
His friend Davina Barry argued the numbers who died in the Holocaust had been exaggerated because "many people have benefited from the situation". These views were robustly challenged by another commentator - respect to Johnny Beggs! - who explained why they were antisemitic. /8
Pocock dismissed Beggs' informed criticisms as pedantry and political correctness. Some months after the original thread, I intervened to say that Labour members should not be supporting antisemitic material like this. I guessed Pocock's CLP wrong but he corrected me on that. /9
He told me I should do my research before commenting! Imagine that. A Holocaust denier telling someone else to do their research. Apparently, I was behaving "very much like a Tory". Another friend of Pocock's chipped in to complain that non-Jewish victims were ignored. /10
Is John Pocock a Labour member? Well, he was responding to a thread which invited members to contribute. In 2015 he said that he had registered as affiliated supporter via his union and since then had several times declared that he'd joined the party and promoted its work. /11
Back to the original thread where I had spotted John Pocock, I challenged his comments about Jews and pointed out that he was a Holocaust denier. I also mentioned some of the original poster's other friends who dismissed antisemitism had indulged in it themselves. /12
That wasn't well received. I won't go into detail here, but the OP turned it round as if I were accusing him personally of antisemitism and demanded that I apologise. He had nothing to say about his friends' views. Several people declared that they would be blocking me too. /13
One person showed concern, but she was the exception. This is what happens in such exchanges. Many people who demand evidence of antisemitism in the Labour Party will react furiously when it's provided, regardless whether it shows their own or others' hypocrisy. /14
They publicly demand actual examples but accuse you of orchestrating pile-ons if you provide them. They claim blatant antisemitism is merely criticism of Israel and/or anti-Zionism. They accuse you of trying to bring down Corbyn, working for Israel or worse. It's very depressing.
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