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Days af­ter Jeremy Cor­byn won the 2015 Labour lead­er­ship elec­tion, party chiefs’ turned their at­ten­tion to mak­ing this one-time joke can­di­date a cred­i­ble con­tender to be Prime Min­is­ter.

staff were hired and of­fice space was filled. PR strate­gies were dis­cussed and pol­icy was de­vised. Ef­forts were even made (with mixed suc­cess) to per­suade the scruffy al­lot­men­tholder to put on a smarter suit and do up his tie. Be­hind the scenes, aides be­gan at­tempt­ing to air­brush from his­tory some of the more em­bar­rass­ing episodes from Cor­byn’s 35 years on the hard-Left of British pol­i­tics.

These in­cluded his deal­ings with Marx­ists, the IRa, var­i­ous dodgy anti-semites, and some Is­lamist groups — in­clud­ing his ‘friends’ Ha­mas and Hezbol­lah.

Ef­forts were made to clean up his Face­book page, where he had for sev­eral years been highly ac­tive.

In par­tic­u­lar, Cor­byn was re­moved from Pales­tine Live, a group on the so­cial net­work ded­i­cated to dis­cussing the Mid­dle East from an anti-Is­raeli per­spec­tive.

He’d been a mem­ber of the group since shortly af­ter it launched in au­gust 2013.

The founder, a brunette mid­dle- aged ac­tress, artist and Labour ac­tivist called El­leanne Green, was a long-stand­ing con­tact with whom Cor­byn had pre­vi­ously dis­cussed po­etry on­line.

The duo’s re­la­tion­ship was suf­fi­ciently close for him to leave an af­fec­tion­ate send-off when she posted that she was about to hol­i­day in so­cial­ist Cuba in april 2015, declar­ing: ‘Have a won­der­ful time and record it all.’

Cru­cially, to those versed in such mat­ters, Green had de­signed Pales­tine Live as a ‘se­cret’ Face­book group. That means it can­not be found us­ing the web­site’s search func­tion, and could only be joined by peo­ple in­vited by a se­nior ex­ist­ing mem­ber.

although the group’s 3,000-odd mem­bers in­cluded an ar­ray of Cor­byn’s friends and po­lit­i­cal al­lies, from hard-Left Labour MPs Chris Wil­liamson and Clive Lewis, to the so­cial­ist for­mer BBC2 News­night jour­nal­ist Paul Ma­son, their iden­ti­ties were there­fore kept se­cret.

Nei­ther did out­siders know that Cor­byn’s son seb, who works as a se­nior aide to shadow Chan­cel­lor John McDon­nell, was also among its ranks.

The ‘se­cret’ sta­tus also meant that the pub­lic was un­able to ac­cess con­tent posted to Pales­tine Live. This was of great im­por­tance to some con­trib­u­tors.

‘How safe is this group?’ asked one, Jackie Walker, shortly af­ter it launched. (Ms Walker rose to be vice- chair of the Cor­bynista Mo­men­tum pres­sure group, no less.)

‘Very,’ replied El­leanne Green. ‘No one is al­lowed in who is not trusted. I am very, very care­ful. and it is a se­cret group.’ BuT

that was then. To­day, just over four years down the line, Pales­tine Live is no longer ‘se­cret’. Quite the re­verse. Ear­lier this month, the group — along with a swathe of its prom­i­nent mem­bers — found it­self at the cen­tre of the ex­plo­sive furore over an­tisemitism in Cor­byn’s Labour Party, af­ter be­ing ex­posed as a cesspit of Holo­caust de­nial and vile Nazi-style pro­pa­ganda.

This was the re­sult of an anti-semitism cam­paigner and blog­ger called David Col­lier in­fil­trat­ing the group. He com­piled a de­tailed re­port telling how mem­bers such as Walker — who is cur­rently sus­pended from Labour over al­le­ga­tions of anti- semitism — used it to share cranky ma­te­rial about Mid­dle East­ern af­fairs.

some of the more sin­is­ter con­trib­u­tors (who, re­mem­ber, thought they were op­er­at­ing in se­cret) were caught de­scrib­ing Jews as ‘demons’. Others ac­cused Is­raelis of har­vest­ing the or­gans of arab chil­dren, or posted links to the rant­ings of white su­prem­a­cists, in­clud­ing the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

sev­eral more used the group to pro­mote ugly con­spir­acy the­o­ries, or share fake news ar­ti­cles sug­gest­ing that the num­ber of deaths at auschwitz had been ex­ag­ger­ated.

In an ex­haus­tive 290-page re­port, Col­lier not only de­tailed this — his anal­y­sis sug­gests that 53 per cent of the con­trib­u­tors to Pales­tine Live were con­firmed anti-semites — but also un­cov­ered the fact that Cor­byn was an ac­tive mem­ber when such con­tent was be­ing shared on a daily ba­sis.

The Labour leader posted com­ments on the site on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions — once, in Oc­to­ber 2014, his re­marks were pub­lished just be­low another re­fer­ring to Jews as ‘Zios’, an anti- semitic term of abuse ( short­hand for Zion­ists) — and even helped lead­ing mem­bers of Pales­tine Live in­vite a highly con­tro­ver­sial speaker called Max Blu­men­thal to the Houses of Par­lia­ment.

Blu­men­thal, a Left-wing au­thor crit­i­cal of Is­rael, was, in 2013, ac­cused by the si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­tre, a u.s. Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tion, of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for one of the ‘Top Ten anti-semitic anti-Is­rael slurs’ made that year.

Top of the list was the supreme leader of Iran’s ‘geno­ci­dal threats against the Jewish state’.

De­spite this, archived dis­cus­sions found in the dig­i­tal his­tory on the Pales­tine Live page sug­gest that Cor­byn agreed to help ar­range his visit af­ter be­ing ap­proached by El­leanne Green weeks ear­lier.

Though Cor­byn was away from Par­lia­ment on the day it­self, his of­fice helped ‘ look af­ter’ ar­range­ments to ob­tain a Par­lia­men­tary pass for Blu­men­thal, and booked the at­tlee suite at Portcullis House in West­min­ster for his speech.

Com­ments writ­ten on Pales­tine Live — which Cor­byn failed to delete when leav­ing the group — fur­ther re­veal that on the day Blu­men­thal was chap­er­oned by Jack Bond, an aide to the soon-tobe Labour leader who be­came his so­cial me­dia man­ager.

‘Ku­dos and thanks to the of­fice of Jeremy Cor­byn MP,’ de­clared Green, who is cur­rently un­der investigation by Labour for an­tisemitism af­ter be­ing found to have used so­cial me­dia to share a story claim­ing that ‘Zion­ists’ are ‘killing chil­dren and steal­ing chil­dren to sell them on the black mar­ket’. Crit­ics call this a mod­ern re-work­ing of the so-called ‘blood li­bel’, an age- old racist myth that Jews kid­nap and mur­der the chil­dren of Chris­tians to use their blood dur­ing reli­gious rit­u­als.

Green has also posted ma­te­rial claim­ing that Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence ser­vices or­ches­trated both 9/11 and the Paris ter­ror at­tacks as part of a se­cret plot to make


West­ern gov­ern­ments in­ter­fere in the Mid­dle East.

She once com­mented on Face­book that no ‘friend of Is­rael’ ought to be al­lowed to stand as an MP and shared a post sug­gest­ing the BBC em­ployed ‘ob­nox­ious Jews’ in or­der to goad op­po­nents of Is­rael into anti-Semitism.

Cor­byn’s as­so­ci­a­tion with such an in­di­vid­ual is shock­ing. But given some of the hor­rific con­tent on Pales­tine Live, it’s even harder to know ex­actly what he thought he was do­ing in her se­cret Face­book group.

Such is the vol­ume of bile shared on the site dur­ing Cor­byn’s mem­ber­ship — which ran from April or May 2013 to late 2015 — that it’s im­pos­si­ble to de­tail more than a frac­tion of it. But it fell into three gen­eral cat­e­gories.

One was Holo­caust de­nial. In Septem­ber 2013, a mem­ber of the group up­loaded a link to a fake news story claim­ing, as he put it, that: ‘ Of­fi­cial records from the In­ter­na­tional Red Cross prove the Holo­caust was a fraud. Re­leased records, sealed for years, show con­cen­tra­tion camp death to­tals only 271,301.’

Cor­byn’s friend El­leanne Green re­sponded: ‘ Peo­ple should be al­lowed to dis­cuss this rather than be­ing si­lenced.’

In Jan­uary 2015, a Pales­tine Live mem­ber called Andy Hop­kins posted a video by David Duke, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), claim­ing that the Holo­caust was a hoax. ‘Per­hapse [sic] if one asked some very ba­sic ques­tions they might learn the truth about the HOLO­CAUST,’ he wrote.

A sec­ond reg­u­lar theme in­volved wild as­ser­tions that Mos­sad, the Is­raeli se­cu­rity ser­vice, staged ma­jor ter­ror­ist in­ci­dents in or­der to in­crease ten­sion be­tween the Arab world and the West.

On the day in 2015 that Is­lamic ter­ror­ists mur­dered 12 mem­bers of staff at the satir­i­cal mag­a­zine Char­lie Hebdo, for ex­am­ple, a mem­ber of the Face­book group called Al­li­son Carmichael ap­peared to sug­gest the Is­raelis were be­hind the at­tack. ‘It looks like a MOS­SAD- style hit was made to­day on the Paris of­fices of Char­lie Hebdo.’

A year later, the group car­ried a link to a video ti­tled ‘Did Is­rael’s Mos­sad do 9/11’, along with the com­ment: ‘Who knows? Any­thing is pos­si­ble.’ Around the same time, some­one called Si­mon Fox posted a video called ‘9/11 Is­rael and the Mos­sad in­ves­ti­gated’.

The third anti- Semitic slur ram­pant on Pales­tine Live dur­ing Cor­byn’s mem­ber­ship re­volves around the sug­ges­tion that a sin­is­ter group of Jewish fi­nanciers se­cretly con­trol the me­dia and po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment.

In Au­gust 2015, for ex­am­ple, a mem­ber called Tony Mur­phy com­plained of ‘Press ma­nip­u­la­tion by the Jewish com­mu­nity. They have such power and no­body seems to re­alise it. Very dan­ger­ous.’

In De­cem­ber 2014, a fe­male mem­ber of a group called Sara Blaise posted another fake news ar­ti­cle on this theme by the KKK’s David Duke claim­ing that the U.S. congress had ‘unan­i­mously’ passed a ‘Bill con­firm­ing U.S. sub­servience to Is­rael’. She said the story, which was fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect, ‘tastes like bile to me’.

In Au­gust 2014, Cor­byn’s friend El­leanne Green shared a link to an ar­ti­cle on a no­to­ri­ous racist web­site called ‘Po­lit­i­cal Vel Craft’ claim­ing that the Jewish Roth­schild fam­ily are at­tempt­ing to cre­ate a ‘New World Or­der’.

Then there were un­al­loyed racist in­sults.

In June 2015, a Pales­tine Live mem­ber called Tim Welsh de­clared: ‘ It’s all over for the JewNazi.’ In Septem­ber 2015, another con­trib­u­tor on the site wrote about ‘Jewish scum of the earth’.

APAM Arnold, in Septem­ber 2014, de­clared ‘these vile ex­cres­cences called Zion­ist jews should be wiped off the face of the earth’ be­fore is­su­ing a death threat against Jewish ac­tress Mau­reen Lip­man, whom she dubbed ‘un­ut­ter­ably vile, Zion­ist and Jewish Zion­ist es­pe­cially to the core.’

Although these posts com­prise just a small por­tion of the ob­nox­ious ma­te­rial on Pales­tine Live, none of the site’s 3,000 mem­bers — in­clud­ing Cor­byn and sev­eral Left-wing MPs — saw fit to point out the ap­palling na­ture of some of the ma­te­rial.

Nei­ther did they con­tra­dict Holo­caust de­nial, nor seek to point out that mem­bers of the group were shar­ing con­tent pro­duced by white su­prem­a­cists.

To many within the Jewish com­mu­nity, this points to a wider malaise: that the hard-Left of Labour pol­i­tics, where Jeremy Cor­byn has spent his en­tire adult life, is so steeped in anti-Semitism that he’s sim­ply un­able to recog­nise it even when it’s star­ing him in the face.

Cer­tainly his re­sponse to re­cent rev­e­la­tions has been a master­class in ob­fus­ca­tion.

When David Col­lier’s re­port was orig­i­nally pub­lished, Labour claimed that Cor­byn had been added to Pales­tine Live with­out his knowl­edge or con­sent and had no ac­tive role in the group.

It was promptly pointed out that he had, in fact, writ­ten com­ments there. At which point the Labour leader’s of­fice back­tracked and said he had only been re­ply­ing to mes­sages.

That didn’t wash ei­ther, since Cor­byn con­trib­uted to gen­eral con­tent and, of course, had helped or­gan­ise Max Blu­men­thal’s event in Par­lia­ment.

Cor­byn there­fore cravenly adopted a third po­si­tion: that what­ever his in­volve­ment with Pales­tine Live and its founder, he had never re­alised the site con­tained anti-Semitic ma­te­rial, so wasn’t guilty of wrong­do­ing.

‘I have never trawled through the whole group. I have never read all the mes­sages on it. I have re­moved my­self from it,’ he said. ‘Had I seen it [anti-Semitism], of course, I would have chal­lenged it straight away.’ THAT

might have damp­ened the scan­dal were it not for the fact that a num­ber of other Face­book-re­lated scan­dals in­volv­ing him sud­denly emerged.

One re­volved around the rev­e­la­tion that he had, in 2012, used the so­cial net­work to crit­i­cise a de­ci­sion to re­move a Nazi pro­pa­ganda-style mu­ral — de­pict­ing vile car­i­ca­tures of Jewish bankers with bun­dles of money play­ing a board game rest­ing on the backs of naked work­ers — from a wall in Lon­don’s Tower Ham­lets.

When asked about the episode, Cor­byn’s of­fice ini­tially claimed he’d been de­fend­ing the an­tiSemitic mu­ral on free speech grounds. This po­si­tion then changed with his of­fice claim­ing he hadn’t ac­tu­ally seen the an­tiSemitic mu­ral.

‘I sin­cerely re­gret that I did not look more closely at the im­age,’ Cor­byn said.

News­pa­pers then un­cov­ered three other Face­book groups, all of which still count Cor­byn as a mem­ber, in which anti- Semitic ma­te­rial has been shared.

One, called The His­tory Of Pales­tine, car­ried a fake news ar­ti­cle head­lined ‘Jewish or­gan traf­fick­ing cen­tre where kid­napped Syr­i­ans are stripped of their en­tire bod­ies’. The other two con­tained ev­ery­thing from Holo­caust de­nial to Roth­schild con­spir­a­cies. And so it con­tin­ues. As to where the scan­dal now leads, Labour would dearly like to put the row be­hind it. But that seems a huge chal­lenge.

Last night, Cor­byn’s se­nior Labour aide son Seb was still listed as a Face­book ‘friend’ of El­leanne Green, who is sup­pos­edly sus­pended from the party. (Mean­while, his youngest son, Tommy, was re­vealed by the Mail yes­ter­day as hav­ing en­dorsed a se­ries of vile anti-Semitic Face­book sites.)

In cy­berspace, our mis­takes, of course, tend to live on for ever.

So only a fool would bet against this be­ing the last time Jeremy Cor­byn’s old dal­liances with an­ti­Semites and other ex­trem­ists comes back to haunt him.

Un­der pres­sure: Jeremy Cor­byn’s re­sponse to re­cent rev­e­la­tions has been a master­class in ob­fus­ca­tion

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