In response to our Bigots for Palestine report, which found rampant antisemitism on the Facebook page of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the PSC issued an evasive statement. Whilst it describes antisemitism as “abhorrent”, we find the statement weak and evasive because:
- It conflates antisemitism with Islamophobia. Our Online Monitoring Unit found no instances of Islamophobia on PSC’s Facebook page. We therefore question why PSC would link the two.
- It describes the perpetrators of the posts as “members of the public” rather than recognising that they are the PSC’s supporters, thus apparently externalising the problem.
- It makes the excuse that PSC’s Facebook page is too busy to moderate effectively, but our report demonstrated that PSC was highly effective at removing other forms of hate speech but chose to allow antisemitism.
The reaction of some PSC supporters to PSC’s statement been antisemitic to the extent that PSC deleted its original statement and then republished it in a new thread. Supporter comments on PSC’s first post (now deleted) alleged that false antisemitism charges were being used by “Israeli agents”, “hasbarists” and “Zionists” as a weapon against them. One commenter posted a virulently antisemitic video entitled “CNN, Goldman Sachs and the Zio Matrix”.
However we do recognise and applaud the fact that PSC’s Facebook page has been much more effectively moderated this week, and the usual antisemitic slurs, conspiracy myths and Holocaust denial are being removed.
PSC should not settle for cleaning up its Facebook page but should now turn its attention to cleaning up its movement. For example, the Brighton and Hove branch of PSC and various branches of PSC in Scotland have scheduled events to explain how “false antisemitism allegations silence the Palestinian voice”, with speakers including Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, both of whom were suspended by the Labour Party for antisemitism.
When we published our Bigots for Palestine report, we wrote: “We fully expect that among PSC supporters, this report will be seen as cynical political manipulation, thus further proving our claim that the Pro-Palestine movement is deeply infused with antisemitism.” Sadly and predictably, we have been proven right.