Calls for investigation over “vile antisemitic abuse” blog shared by SNP branches
The First Minister has faced calls to investigate a Scottish nationalist blog which cited Mein Kampf to attack a leading Jewish trade union official, and explain what action will be taken against activists who shared the content.
Labour's Neil Findlay has now written to Nicola Sturgeon demanding an investigation into the blog which claims a Jewish trade union official in Scotland is 'making the most' of antisemitism.
The blog was shared by numerous SNP channels, including the SNP Edinburgh East Twitter page, Livingston East Facebook page and the campaign page of two West Lothian councillors.
The SNP branch in Livingston East was later forced to apologise, and deleted the link.
“Earlier tonight a link was posted from this account to an article which has been accused of antisemitism." they said.
"Although we are sure the individual who posted the link holds no such views, the link was a bad misjudgement on their part.
“The linked article does not express the views of Livingston East SNP and the offending posts have been deleted from our accounts. The individual will no longer be posting on behalf on Livingston East SNP. We apologise for any offence caused.”
However, Ms. Wolfson has said this does not go far enough, responding: "You haven’t apologised. Anonymously saying sorry to thin air after you’ve posted fascist material isn’t apologising."
"I’m waiting for an actual apology and also to hear what action will be taken against the poster.”
"I couldn’t care less about party politics when it comes to tackling racism, I’d expect the same of everyone,” she added.
Paul Sweeney, Labour MP for Glasgow East, also described the blog post as “utterly reprehensible", while Richard Leonard tweeted: "Rhea, you have my solidarity and full support. We must always challenge bigotry and racism in whatever form it comes in."
In his letter to the First Minister, Mr. Findlay wrote that "I am writing to you today calling for an urgent investigation into the promotion of an antisemitic blog being promoted by SNP councillors and local parties."
"An entry hosted on the ‘Grouse Beater’ blog entitled ‘GMB - a cockney clique’ has been shared by a number of SNP social media accounts."
"The blog attacks the trade union movement in Scotland generally, the GMB union and organiser Rhea Wolfson in particular."
"It includes the following passage:
“In Part 1 of Mein Kampf Hitler attacks unions over an over again. Unions are fascism’s Public Enemy Number 1. He went further. He accused ‘The Jew’ of gradually assuming leadership of the trade union movement. Hitler wanted a blindly obedient fighting force loyal only to the national leader of government. Whether or not Wolfson is intellectually aware of Hitler’s outlook is unknown but she certainly knows how to make the most of it...”"
"This vile blog has been shared by the Livingston East SNP and Edinburgh East SNP social media accounts."
"It was also shared by West Lothian SNP councillors Frank Anderson and Carl John from their joint Facebook Page."
"Our parties clearly have different views in the role of the trade union movement in Scotland, but regardless of that we should stand united against hatred and racism. It is simply unacceptable that this vile anti-Semitic blog has been promoted by various SNP accounts."
"You should instigate an investigation into this immediately and suspend those SNP members, notably any elected member, pending an investigation."
The scandal comes on the back of comments by the First Minister on the importance of combating anti-semitism after the tragic events at the Tree of Life synagogue in the United States over the weekend.
“Later this week, I’ll accompany @HolocaustUK and a group of Scottish school pupils on a visit to Auschwitz. As antisemitism rears its head again - often, as in USA yesterday, with horrific consequences - it is more important than ever that the next generation learns and remembers.”
A spokesperson for the SNP told The Red Robin :"The SNP is resolute in our unqualified condemnation of anti-Semitism in all its forms. The blog should not have been shared by any SNP member and Rhea Wolfson deserves a full apology from the author for the clear offence that has been caused. We will assess any complaints of antisemitism using the IHRA definition and all examples."