Revealed: Boris Johnson’s Jimmy Savile slur sparked antisemitic hate at Keir Starmer

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Revealed: Boris Johnson’s Jimmy Savile slur sparked antisemitic hate at Keir Starmer

JN INVESTIGATION: Twitter users launch stream of abuse towards the Labour leader including claim he is "paid" by "Zionist masters"

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Boris Johnson’s Westminster slur about Sir Keir Starmer and the failure to prosecute child sex offender Jimmy Savile has sparked a shocking upsurge in antisemitic hate directed at the Labour leader, a Jewish News investigation can reveal.

Over the past week we discovered scores of social media posts, all attempting to justify the falsehood that while Director of Public Prosecutions Starmer was himself responsible for the failure to bring charges against Savile.

Posts shared on Twitter included one labelling Starmer’s wife, who is Jewish “an Israeli”, adding of the Labour leader “his children are being raised as Jews and he’s been quoted as saying he is ‘Zionist without qualification’ Savile was a notable Israeli supporter who had met senior Israeli politicians and was considered an esteemed friend of Israel.”

Comments included claims that Keir Starmer is raising his kids Jewish

Another post, shared on the same social media platform, made reference to the ugly scenes on Monday as a hardline group of conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers surrounded the Labour leader and shouted insults including the claim he was a “paedophile protector.”

The tweet, from a user named Jassykahn4 and posted on Tuesday, said:”Damn straight, never voting for zionist apartheid loving Starmer and yesterday was staged, it was a play right out his Israeli master’s handbook.”

“Israeli master’s handbook”

Meanwhile another poster said the scenes outside Westminster had been “mostly brought on by Starmer, Lammy and their smearing cabal, paid for by their Zionist masters.”

Another tweeted wrote:”Starmer has far more a case to answer on Savile than Corbyn ever did on antisemitism.”

After being shown the social media pots directed at the Labour leader a Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “This antisemitic abuse is disgusting. We call on online platforms to remove the offending accounts.”

More attempts to link Starmer to Savile

MP and parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement Dame Margaret Hodge added: “Words matter. And the Prime Minister’s callous attempt to smear Keir Starmer with a slur peddled by right-wing trolls who further engage with antisemitic conspiracy theories is more than disgusting, it’s dangerous.”

The Prime Minister had caused outrage at last week’s Prime Ministers Question Time session in parliament when he claimed Starmer had “spent more time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile”.
Downing Street subsequently said the PM would “clarify” but apologise for the remarks – but at least eleven Tory MPs have called for Johnson to retract and apologise for the claims he made in the Commons last week.

More comments made about Keir Starmer, this time referencing Tzipi Livni

Asked to comment on the vile posts directed at Starmer, a Downing Street spokesperson told Jewish News on Wednesday:”The PM had said the behaviour directed at the Leader of the Opposition is absolutely disgraceful and all forms of harassment are completely unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Starmer told Jewish News:”There is concern about the Prime Minister giving oxygen to views which originated in the dark corners of the internet in far-right conspiracies.

“There is a question of the PM giving these views legitimacy by raising them from the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons.”

The widespread circulation of antisemitic tropes about the Labour leader comes as fears grow over the increasing collaboration between far-right and far-left activists, brought together through anti-vaxx protests and other demonstrations.

After Starmer was surrounded by the mob as he left Westminster, video footage confirmed he had been branded a “paedophile protector” “a freemason” and “traitor” while one demonstrator carried a noose.

He and Labour shadow justice minister David Lammy were bundled into a police car.

A former Conservative councillor who was thrown out of the party and now heads an anti-vax group peddling a range of conspiracy theories was later revealed to be among the mob.

Former Enfield Tory councillor William Coleshill, is involved with a group known as Resistance GB, a DIY journalism platform, which circulates debunked conspiracy theories about the role of Starmer in protecting paedophiles such as Savile.

After Monday’s fracas, in which two arrests were made, users of the same social media channels also expressed their belief that the confrontation had been “staged”.

Comments posted on YouTube included descriptions of Starmer as a traitor and a “controlled Zionist”

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday September 29, 2021.

Under a video of the incident, another said: “They are all scum. Going to need more than a few goons as personal protection if things get any worse.”

Video of the protest showed Piers Corbyn, the brother of the former Labour leader, speaking to the crowd and leading chants of “resist, defy, do not comply.”

Piers Corbyn

The Prime Minister had caused outrage at last week’s Prime Ministers Question Time session in parliament when he claimed Starmer had “spent more time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile”.
Downing Street subsequently said the PM would “clarify” but apologise for the remarks – but at least eleven Tory MPs have called for Johnson to retract and apologise for the claims he made in the Commons last week.

The former Tory Party chief whip is amongst those to have described as “grim” the PM’s use of allegations about Savile against Starmer.

During his time as DPP the Savile case was handled by another lawyer entirely – and the prosecution of child abusers increased under Starmer’s watch.

There have been also calls for the three Barnet Conservative MPs – Mike Freer, Theresa Villiers, and Matthew Offord – to publicly condemn the PM’s remarks from Liberal Democrats and Labour local councillors ahead of the local elections in May.

Jewish News has contacted the three MPs and asked them if they wished to condemn the PM’s remarks. But they had yet to respond to the emails

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had pointedly condemned the abuse of Starmer and the shadow home secretary and linked it to the prime minister’s comments last week telling MPs “words have consequences.”
On Tuesday the PM’s spokesperson said he had already “clarified” his remarks to make clear Starmer was not personally responsible for the Savile case.

The spokesperson accepted the comments were “capable of being misconstrued by a tiny minority”.

The attacks on Starmer from the Tories have also been followed by attacks on him by disenchanted supporters of former leader Corbyn, and by so-called “alt-left” websites such as Skwawkbox.

One of the false allegations levelled at Starmer is that he is under the control of Tony Blair’s spin doctor Lord Peter Mandeleson, who was himself once pictured at the Paris home of Jeffrey Epstein.

At the time, Mandelson was the European Commissioner for Trade and went on to serve as Business Secretary in Gordon Brown’s government – but he had been introduced to Epstein by an acquaintance.

Speaking on Wednesday about the growing intimidation of politicians from all parties London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “When my wife and kids see some of the stuff I put up with, and they see it on social media because I try not to talk about it, they get really upset.

“They get scared. The question they ask me, and I know Keir and David’s families ask them this: ‘Is it worth it?’”

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