‘Offensive blogger imprisoned’ is a news story that typically emanates from authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes. But now, it seems, the UK is getting in on the act.
For writing five anti-Semitic blog posts aimed at Labour MP Luciana Berger between October 2014 and January 2015, Joshua Bonehill-Paine has been sentenced to two years in jail. According to Berger, the blog posts left her feeling ‘sick’ and worried for her safety.
With headlines like ‘the legacy of the filthy Jew bitch’ and ‘racist anti-white Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger exposed’, it’s not surprising that Berger was left appalled. The fascist troll had already served a sentence for organising a rally in Golders Green against the ‘Jewification’ of the area. He has also superimposed Berger’s face on to rodents and Hebrew symbols.
Calling Bonehill-Paine a scumbag is an insult to scumbags. In a YouTube video, he decried an ‘occupation force of 50,000 Jews occupying what used to be an Anglo-Saxon settlement, Stamford Hill’. Demonstrating a standard of wit surpassed only by nine-year-olds, he promised his proposed march against north London Jews would be ‘an absolute gas’.
But Bonehill-Paine was not on trial for his previous actions. Although the sentencing judge listed his past misdemeanours, the defendant was only on trial for those five blog posts. In his remarks, the judge concluded that Bonehill-Paine’s posts ‘showed, beyond any doubt, the depth of [his] hatred of Jewish people, including Ms Berger’. But is being a repulsive bigot sufficient reason to be sent to jail? Is writing five, albeit downright horrendous, blog posts enough to warrant a jail sentence? Absolutely not.