UK Arrests Facebook Users For Anti-Semitism
Scottish police have arrested four men and a 15-year-old for making anti-Semitic posts on the social networking site Facebook.
The arrests were made in East Renfrewshire and Glasgow, after police received a number of complaints from the Jewish community in Giffnock, a sleepy bedroom community in the west central lowlands of Scotland. Some 50 officers raided seven addresses, reports the BBC.
The offensive posts were made on page titled, “Welcome to Israel, only kidding you’re in Giffnock.” It has since been taken down.
According to The Jewish Chronicle Online, the creator of the page wrote, “They have a Gaelic translation in the train station, Hebrew would have been more appropriate” and featured comments such as, “Jewish scum,” “F*** the Jewish Zionist,” and “Hebrew is not needed in the train station [because] all the Jews are f***ing rich c**** they have gold plated Bentleys.” The webpage had almost 1,000 “likes,” showing approval from Facebook users.
The Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra reports local resident Michael Gladstone lodged the initial complaint to St. Ninian’s high school, after he found that some pupils and former pupils were members of the group.
“What is going on at the school that pupils think its acceptable to go on to Facebook, join this group, and post and like such vile comments?,” he told the paper.
An investigation found that while two students had joined the group, they did not make anti-Semitic posts.
Discovery of the page prompted outrage in Scotland and elsewhere. It followed an April incident where a Jewish boy at St. Andrews was racially abused and no longer felt safe in town.
Chief Inspector Alan Murray credited the “many departments of Strathclyde Police and the support of the procurator fiscal at Paisley” for the arrests.
The Community Security Trust (CST), which helps protect the Jewish community in the UK, welcomed the arrests.
“Glaswegian Jews should be reassured that local police take anti-Semitism seriously, and that they are working with CST and the rest of the Jewish community in tackling it when it does arise,” the group said in a press statement.
“The spread of all types of hatred on social networking sites and similar media is a growing problem, so, it is hoped that this innovative investigation will provide a helpful precedent for all of society.”