PEOPLE who spread racial hatred online should be given “internet asbos”, MPs have said, banning them from sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The new proposals were put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism who want to crack down on a “disturbing” rise in anti-Semitism in Britain.
The group wants prosecutors to examine if prevention orders like those used to restrict sex offenders’ internet access could be used.
According to the MPs’ report, “Hitler” and “Holocaust” were among the top 35 key words used on Twitter last summer.
The report said: “There is an allowance in the law for banning or blocking individuals from certain aspects of internet communication in relation to sexual offences.
“Informal feedback we have received from policy experts indicates that this is a potential area of exploration for prosecutors in relation to hate crime.
“If it can be proven in a detailed way that someone has made a considered and determined view to exploit various online networks to harm and perpetrate hate crimes against others then the accepted principles, rules and restrictions that are relevant to sex offences must surely apply.”
The request follows a rise in incidents against Jews which occurred during fighting in Gaza and Israel last year.
The Paris terror attacks where a Jewish supermarket was targeted has also bought the issue under renewed scrutiny.
The MPs’ report said: “Given the scale of social media content produced on a daily let alone minute by minute basis, we have some albeit limited sympathy for the companies that are responsible for hosting it.
“Whilst there is rightly an expectation on those companies to act as there is on government, police and prosecuting authorities, so too civil society has a crucial role to play.”
Other proposals in the report include setting up a government fund to cover the costs of security at synagogues and establishing an independent council on anti-Semitism.
Last week, a Community Security Trust which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, said UK anti-Semitic incidents more than doubled to 1,168 in 2014. Its highest figure recorded since the trust began work in 1984.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the report as “hugely important”.
“Tackling anti-Semitism goes right to the heart of what we stand for as a country,” he said.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We remain staunchly committed to tackling anti-Semitism wherever it occurs and will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach.
“Those who perpetrate hate crimes of any kind will be punished with the full force of the law.”