Swift action by an MP has closed down a website containing virulently antisemitic material.
The website, www.catholicvoice.co.uk, was closed by BT last Friday after Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, told the telecoms company about its offensive content.
Run by a man called Tim Johnson, it contained articles such as “To call Jesus a Jew is blasphemy”, “Jews are followers of Satan” and contained references to the notorious forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.
Mr Mann wrote to the BT subsidiary Plusnet, saying: “The website that I understand is hosted through your organisation has been brought to my attention. It is deeply offensive in content — racist, antisemitic and discriminatory — and therefore full of illegal hate speech and in violation of your own hosting policy.”
He told them that the site broke the company’s own rules and that he was informing the police.
Mr Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, also tabled an early day motion in the Commons. It said: “This House notes the vile and antisemitic nature of the website www.catholicvoice.co.uk; notes that it is run by a known fascist and seeks to inspire hate against the Jewish community amongst others; understands that, according to Nominet’s WHOIS service, it is based in the United Kingdom through ISP provider Plusnet in contradiction with that organisation’s own hosting policies and remains available to be viewed by the world; calls on Plusnet to stop hosting the website content; and calls for the domain name to be revoked and believes that those who are writing, commissioning and uploading vile hate speech should face the full force of the law.”
As of Wednesday, there were 29 signatories to the motion, including Jeremy Corbyn and Glenda Jackson.
Mr Mann said: “This website was vile and nasty. The antisemitism on every page was offensive and I believe incited hatred. I am so proud that the website was pulled down by BT within hours of my parliamentary motion being submitted.
“The message should be clear — antisemitic hate will not be welcome here in the UK whether it takes place online or off line.”
Praise for Mr Mann’s action came from Brian Dowd, editor of the Catholic Voice newspaper, who was swift to dissociate his paper from “this vile website and anything else like it”.