A Twitter account which highlights antisemitism in the Labour Party was suspended by Twitter, reportedly for using an image of a Holocaust-era yellow star.
The suspension of the @GnasherJew account followed an appeal by Unite the Union chief Len McCluskey to report the account to Twitter. Despite this account never previously having been censored by Twitter, it was taken down within 24 hours of Mr McCluskey’s request, referring to it as an account that is “spreading hatred”.
While it cannot be confirmed that the suspension was directly caused by Mr McCluskey’s appeal, we find it odd that as a so-called ‘anti-racist’ and a leading figure within a party with a serious problem with antisemitism, he would choose to pour oil on the fire by attempting to censor those pointing out the racism in its own ranks, or why he would characterise their posts as hateful. Mr McCluskey has previously disputed that Labour has an antisemitism problem at all, claiming allegations of antisemitism were just “mood music” to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and declaring that antisemitism is being exaggerated by the “right-wing media”.
Perhaps Mr McCluskey just could not stand to see the evidence posted day in day out by the @GnasherJew activists on Twitter who prove him wrong.
The account was suspended because Twitter claimed that it breached its rules over hateful imagery. In Nazi Germany, Jews were dehumanised by being forced to wear a yellow star in order to render them easily identifiable by the rest of the population. The activists behind @GnasherJew were told by Twitter that the account was suspended “Specifically for: 1. Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header.” Twitter added that “To unlock your account, you must do the following: Delete the Profile Field that violates our rules.”
Twitter allows extreme antisemitism to go unchecked on a regular basis, and has demonstrably allowed antisemitic comment that has formed part of prosecutions for hate crime in the UK. It was therefore extraordinary that it would censor an account run by an activist who exposes, with evidence, those who break Twitter’s own rules, but against whom they are unwilling to act.