Police launch investigation into anti-Semitic Facebook group

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The group, created by a student at Loxford School of Science and Technology,
attracted more than 500 members in two weeks following its launch last month
and featured teenagers boasting about engaging in anti-Semitic behaviour.

It featured messages from youths using language rife with spelling errors,
profanities and teenage colloquialisms.
One girl wrote: “Jews are the ones that killed prophets in the past. Dirty
filthy scum-bags. No wonder they have the curse of Allah upon them. Burn Jew
burn.”

Another stated: “OMG! ii Saw a Jew Todaii ii Swearr downn Weariingg Dahh
Hatt He Lookedd At Me Liike Man Knowsz Me [sic].”

She went on to describe screaming obscenities at the man and rudely telling
him to go away.

In a further disturbing post, a girl bragged about aggressively confronting
a Jewish woman in Argos after she was “looking at me”. She wrote: “Looool i
Had a Fight Wif 1 Urgh in Argos [sic].”

The Jewish News was informed about the group, created by a student at
Loxford School, by a private investigator in Australia. It has since been
removed from the popular social networking site.

The group was described by a Community Security Trust (CST) official as ³one
of the most shocking things I have ever seen².
A spokeswoman from Redbridge Council, speaking on behalf of Loxford School,
said the school was contacted about the group and then immediately reported
it to Facebook and the police.

The spokeswoman said: “The student concerned has been dealt with and the
school has taken disciplinary action. There is an ongoing police
investigation so we are unable to comment further.”

Ilford police confirmed it had “received an allegation regarding
anti-Semitic material being published on a social networking website”.

A spokeswoman told the Jewish News that the police are investigating and
inquiries continue.

Several comments on the vile Facebook site include misguided references to
Islam and the Koran as justification for targeting Jews.

One female youth wrote: ³We hate Jews for the sake of Allah as he has told
us to do in the Koran.²

The group page included offensive jokes invoking pejorative stereotypes
about Jews and money as well as an anti-Semitic cartoon. There was also a
link to a YouTube video entitled ³Kill All Christians and Jews².

In addition several members expressed anti-Israeli sentiment. There was a
photograph of graffiti saying ³Jihad 4 Israel² and a link to another YouTube
video of ³a brave Palestinian girl standing up to Israeli soldiers².

Mike Gardner, director of communications at the CST, said he was left
“utterly chilled” by the casual way that the youths displayed their
anti-Semitism.

He said: “It shows how new media is now facilitating the most shocking
anti-Semitism among groups of youngsters, as if hatred and violence and
gross ignorance were all just a part of their normal lives.

“Anybody who wants to understand how anti-Semitism can be transmitted today
should study this online group closely, but they will need a strong stomach
to do so.”

The CST, which is due to release its latest findings on anti-Semitism in the
UK this week, has previously reported 609 incidents in the first six months
of 2009, more than in any other entire year. A report released by the
Jewish Agency last month revealed that there were more anti-Semitic
incidents in Europe in 2009 than in any year since the Holocaust.

Mike Gapes, the local MP for Ilford South, urged the authorities to take
“very strong action”. Gapes told the Jewish News: “I am deeply concerned.
Incitement to hatred is a crime and we must stand very firm and take action
against anyone who incited racial or religious hatred. Anti-Semitism has to
be opposed.”

Lee Scott MP for Ilford North also denounced the site, saying: “It is
shocking and I condemn it.”

A Facebook spokeswoman said that the group was removed because it breached
company¹s policies. She said: “We want Facebook to be a place where people
can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the
rights and feelings of others.” She added that users should report groups
that they feel violate Facebook’s rules.

Spencer Lewis, the headteacher of local Jewish high school King Solomon
said: “We have had no problems at all with Loxford that I am aware of and we
have a very good relationship with the school.”

Police launch investigation into anti-Semitic Facebook group by