UK anti-racist groups sign letter to Facebook alongside Tommy Robinson-supporting organisation

EXCLUSIVE: Other signatories alongside CAA and BICOM include the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God


An American organisation which has  openly supported the far-right activist Tommy Robinson in the past is among the signatories to a letter sent to Facebook urging it to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The Middle East Forum (MEF)  is named amongst nearly 130 Jewish groups and other Non-Governmental Organisations who have put their names to a letter sent to Facebook’s directors demanding they adopt the definition as part of their hate speech policy.

A number of UK-based Israel advocacy organisations also lent their names to the letter, which was sent to the social media company earlier this month and which called on  Facebook to “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today's most important online public square.”

The letter, signed by nearly 130 antisemitism awareness and pro-Israel groups, was organised by a group called Stop Antisemitism.Org  who state they work “to hold antisemites accountable and to create consequences for their bigoted actions by exposing the threat that they present to all Americans and showing how their ideologies conflict with American values, morals, and principles.”

UK groups which added their signatures to  group’s campaign include Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM)  the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), the Maccabi World Union and North West Friends of Israel.

Mr Robinson - whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon –  founded the far-right English Defence League in 2009 and was previously a member of the British National Party. He has made no secret of his views on Islam.

He tweeted in 2017: “I've gone full 360 over last 8 yrs.From people thinking I hate Jews to people thinking I am a Jew."

A spokesperson for the CAA said they would not be commenting on the appearance of a pro-Tommy Robinson group on the letter to Facebook.  But the spokesman said they have never had any dealings with the far-right activist. 

It is understood that other groups, including BICOM, were not made aware of the other organisations who were supporting the letter sent to Facebook ahead of their decision to back the campaign.

MEF President Daniel Pipes had confirmed that the Philadelphia-based think-tank was “heavily involved” in a campaign to free Mr Robinson from prison.

He was jailed after publishing a Facebook Live video of defendants entering a law court, contravening a court order.

An article on the MEF website in August 2018  said the group “applauds the release of Tommy Robinson from prison this morning, after the UK anti-Islamist activist won his appeal over a contempt of court sentence.”

MEF was founded in 1990 by Mr Pipes – an influential figure in the American ‘counter-jihad’ milieu – as a neoconservative think tank on Middle Eastern affairs. 

Mr Pipes told an Israeli TV channel that he believed in freedom of speech and that claims that Mr Robinson was himself antisemitic were false and that he “shared” the former English Defence League leader’s opposition to “Islamism.”

Another controversial group to sign Stop Antisemitism.Org’s  Facebook letter is the  Universal Church of the Kingdom of God – the biggest commercial evangelical church in Brazil.

With more than 12 million members worldwide, the organisation has repeatedly faced allegations of corruption and intolerance of other religions.

Those joining the church are urged to donate at least 10 per cent of the earnings and believe that Jesus will return if strict religious guidelines are adhered to.

Other groups to sign the letter include Coalition For Jewish Values – a group of conservative American rabbis who argue that Judaism should adopt a pro-life anti-abortion stance.

Also adding their name to the campaign is Haym Salomn Centre, which states its aim as being “combating antisemitism, Islamic terrorism and defending Western values.”

It also attacks “leftist stories funded by George Soros in outlets like the New York Times and Huffington Post.”














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