Peer: Child abuse concerns ‘hijacked by insidious resurgence of blood libel’

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Peer: Child abuse concerns ‘hijacked by insidious resurgence of blood libel’

Labour peer Lord Harris accused anti-lockdown protestors of indulging in centuries-old antisemitic blood libel

Lord Harris
Lord Harris

Conspiracy theorists have “hijacked” legitimate concerns about child abuse to peddle antisemitic “vile nonsense”, Parliament has been told.

The group, who took part in a recent anti-lockdown protest in central London, were responsible for promoting the false allegation of a global elite kidnapping and sacrificing children, Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey said.

This represented an “insidious resurgence” of the centuries-old antisemitic blood libel, he said.

The bogus claim of ritualised murder has been used in the past to justify violence against Jews.

Lord Harris pressed the Government at Westminster over steps being taken to tackle the fake accusations, which he said were “circulating increasingly widely and worryingly gaining credence”.

He raised his concerns in the House of Lords as peers discussed steps being taken to combat child abuse and exploitation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lord Harris, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: “Last weekend in Trafalgar Square, alongside the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers were conspiracy theorists who believe that there is an international elite who are kidnapping children for abuse, sacrifice and to drink their blood, an insidious resurgence of the historic antisemitic blood libel.

“These people hijacked the legitimate concerns about child trafficking and child abuse.

“This vile nonsense is circulating increasingly widely and worryingly gaining credence.

“What is the Government going to do to combat this?”

Responding, Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford highlighted steps being taken to introduce online harms legislation, which will cover a broad range of issues, including the spread of fake news and disinformation.

Of the false claims made by conspiracy theorists, she said that “that sort of misinformation can be incredibly harmful”.

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