Hove Labour Facebook group suspended after slew of anti-Israel posts

Posted On 08 May 2019 at 7:49 pm

A Facebook group for Hove and Portslade Labour members has been suspended because it was over-ridden with posts criticising the Israeli government.

The admins of the group pulled the plug last night after warning that it would be shut down following a review of the local party’s online presence by its new social media officer.

Brighton and Hove News understands that one of the issues was that members Anne Mitchell and Alex Braithwaite were both let back into the group despite being removed when they were suspended from the party for alleged anti-Semitism.

Anne Mitchell is believed to have been responsible for many of the posts about Israel and Palestine, neither of which is in Hove.

Chris Henry, Peter Kyle’s constituency officer and newly elected councillor for Westbourne ward, said: “That Facebook group was a failing Facebook group.

“It was dominated by five people and invariably the topic was Israel and Palestine.

“Nothing was accomplished, nothing felt comradely so I’m 100 per cent behind the democracy review and social media officer who’s trying to broaden participation in Labour party social media.

“There are 2,500 Labour members in Hove and Portslade. If you have only got five people talking on Facebook, something’s not right.”

This afternoon, the admins of the group, who include the Hove party chair and newly elected councillor Anne Pissaridou, released a statement which said: “The Hove and Portslade Labour Party Forum has been temporarily closed by its admins because they do not at the moment have available people or time to moderate it properly.

“The executive committee is conducting a review of our social media policy, but subject to that the admins hope to re-open it again before long with a fresh team of moderators and some published guidance for them to work to. We apologise for this short intermission.”

The citywide Brighton & Hove Labour Party Forum on Facebook, where Amanda Bishop posted her call to march on Hove synagogue, is still operation.

According to expelled member Tony Greenstein’s blog, Anne Mitchell, whose Twitter and Facebook profile picture is the slogan “Being against Israel’s war crimes is not anti-Semitism”, was suspended last month over allegedly anti-Semitic posts.

She was one of several Momentum members elected to the Hove party’s executive committee in March 2017. Of the other nine elected, two are now councillors – Kate Knight and Anne Pissaridou. One, the late Riad El-Taher, has been expelled and another, Dan Harris, is still suspended from the party.

Brighton and Hove News approached Ms Mitchell for comment last night, but has not received a response and has since been blocked from her Twitter account.

Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove’s new Labour councillors are due to meet next week to decide who will be their new group leader following council leader Dan Yates’ decision to stand down.

One of the reasons he gave was being: “tired of having to be seen as the local face of a party which is increasingly risking its reputation, values and traditions over anti-semitism and Brexit.”

So far, former Corbyn aide Nancy Platts is the only councillor to have put herself forward for the role, with hopes she will be the local party’s “radical unity” candidate.

  1. Ron Temis Reply

    It seems this Labour Party is full of anti-Semites. The sane members are a minority.

    • Toby Starbuck Reply

      As the article states, there are 2,500 Labour members in Hove and Portslade, and the posts came from the same 5 voices. Do you know what a ‘minority’ is?

  2. Robbie Roberts Reply

    ‘Anne Mitchell is believed to have been responsible for many of the posts about Israel and Palestine, neither of which are in Hove’. Brilliant!

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Yes, droll, but that “are” should be “is”.

      • Jo Wadsworth Reply

        Oh goodness, you’re right. I’ll change it right away. Thanks Chris!

  3. Billy Reply

    Let’s hope this site doesn’t get taken over by loonies – like the Argus comments section has.
    We’ve just had local elections and most of us residents are concerned about our bins getting emptied, rather than the infighting between party extremists.
    The Labour party needs to reconnect with middle issue politics if it is to survive – but can the council please collect my recycling first?
    I could write the same about the Tories too.

  4. Teresa Lipson Reply

    When will the Argus print an article about local Jewish people who are Labour supporters and feel that Israel’s government is acting in a vile way and attacking the human rights of the Palestinians? Will the Argus call us antisemitic even though we are Jewish and active in various ways in the local Jewish community? Please stop conflating the two things..Zionism and Judaism.

  5. BAHN lurker Reply

    The Israel-Palestine conflict is totally irrelevant to me as a Brighton resident. I don’t understand why some Labour members focus on this above all else, including our local issues. The rabid fascination has shades of anti-Semitism and gives that appearance (whether or not it actually is). They’ve lost me as a long-time voter.

    • Secret Squirrel Reply

      Thank you for your decency- a rather rare commodity in the Labour Party right now, especially in this area.

  6. Withdean Actually Reply

    What’s wrong with criticising a
    Country’s government anyway?

  7. Jason Reply

    Why all this “anti-semitism” hysteria anyway? In my whole life I’ve only knowingly met two people who disliked jews for no other reason than that jews are jews. Most people just see people, whether they’re jewish, black or anything else.

    Nowadays though, it’s PC gone mad, with anti-this, anti-that and anything else falsely diagnosed as a “phobia”. Why can’t we just scrap the whole lunacy of political “correctness” that couldn’t be less correct if it tried, and go back to being human beings?

    We’re hardly allowed to breathe without being accused of “hate” (they can’t even spell hatred) of one sort or another, when the truth is that most people don’t hate anyone, and certainly not entire groups.

  8. I'mnotfrombrighton. Reply

    Teresa Lipson, they might ignorantly label you anti-Semitic, they might also play their trump card of calling you a self-hating Jew.
    Is the conflation of anti-Semitic and anti-israeli by the press ignorance or a right wing smear campaign?

  9. Pingback: Does Labour In Brighton Have An Antisemitism Problem? #LabourAntisemitism – Warren Morgan's blog

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