Reform candidates accused of 'antisemitic' posts

Two Reform UK parliamentary candidates have shared material deemed "vile" and in breach of the internationally-recognised definition of antisemitism.

Candidates of the right-wing party have previously shared on social media material defending Adolf Hitler, denying the Holocaust, conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family and Jewish financier George Soros, denial of antisemitism, and comparisons of the state of Israel with Nazi Germany.

The uncovering of these social media posts, in a dossier compiled by the Campaign Against Antisemitism and verified by Sky News, raises yet further questions about the vetting process undertaken by Reform UK ahead of nominating these candidates to stand for parliament.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has threatened to take legal and police action against a vetting firm,, saying it was paid £144,000 to carry out candidate checks but "not a single piece of work was delivered", and alleged political bias.

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The company said in a statement that the election was called earlier than expected, so there was not enough time for their automated software to complete the vetting process with the candidate information available to them, and denied political bias.

Other parties have had candidates accused of antisemitism during this election campaign, including the Green Party that faced accusations that nearly 20 of its election candidates had shared "antisemitic" material online.

The party told The Times newspaper at the time that the allegations were "serious" and "being treated as such". Co-leader Adrian Ramsay later said at the party's manifesto launch that some candidates had been removed, and added: "Like any other party, if issues are raised around a candidate, those are investigated. That process happens independently of the party leadership, as it's [a] matter of good governance."

In 2020, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission found "serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints" in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, and concluded that there were "unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination" that the party was responsible for.

Labour was put into special measures following that investigation, and was taken out of special measures in February 2023.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said in a statement that the posts by the Reform UK candidates are "incredibly troubling" and called on the party to "revisit its support for these individuals".

Link was shared to video called 'World Defeated Wrong Enemy'

Antony Antoniou, Reform UK's candidate for Northampton North, shared material on his X (formerly Twitter) account that advanced a defence of Adolf Hitler, propagated conspiracy theories about Jewish financier George Soros secretly funding nefarious plots, and that the financier, in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, were somehow connected to the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak.

This X account is being used today as his account representing his candidacy for election with Reform UK, and the tweets were deleted shortly before this story was published.

On 3 June 2016, Antoniou shared a link to a video entitled "World Defeated The Wrong Enemy", and in the description of the video, preserved by the Internet Archive, it claims Hitler "wanted nothing but peace, and never ordered the extermination of a single Jew".

It also references the "largely Jewish-controlled mainstream media" that has "ever since painted an evil picture of Hitler and the Jew World Order has even enacted laws in 16 European countries prohibiting free-speech on the issues of Judaism, Hitler and the Holocaust".

Earlier that year, on 2 January, he tweeted a link to a website that contained Hitler's speeches between 1921 and 1941. The website argues that Hitler "could foresee the social warfare that Europe of today is being subjected to" and suggests the reader should "consider that the very same group who are lying to us today, were lying to us then".

Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany from 1933 until his suicide in 1945. He ordered and oversaw the systematic murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children from across Europe after years of advancing an antisemitic narrative within Germany.

Antoniou also shared many links to content advancing conspiracy theories around the Rothschild family and Mr Soros, which contain antisemitic tropes of nefarious Jewish control or influence, and also shared a link connecting Mr Soros and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to Ebola.

In August 2016, he shared a video by conspiracy theorist David Icke, in which it was claimed that "the treatment of Jewish people in Germany by the Nazis was grotesquely exploited by the Rothschilds and their fellow members of this Zionist secret society" for some unclear "benefit".

Icke has previously endorsed the antisemitic literary forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that gained popularity among the American far-right from the 1950s, and has propagated conspiracy theories about Jewish control. He denies antisemitism.

A number of further tweets between 2015 and 2019 shared articles suggesting secretive and nefarious control by the Rothschild family and George Soros in particular, and advanced a narrative around a "New World Order", and an alleged Israeli plan to control the whole Middle East.

Although Antoniou shared all of this content on his X account, he did not add any commentary endorsing it. However, one piece of content - a post entitled "Rothschild owned & controlled banks" - appeared to link to a Wordpress site in his own name, that has since been deleted, and that he denied ownership of.

Speaking to Sky News, Antoniou said he previously used the account as a "news blog" that he connected to automated feeds that shared "historical" content that "interested" him or was "abhorrent".

"I certainly wasn't aware of those tweets," he said. "I never posted them. I don't even know half of what was posted. All I know is it was RSS feeds with news."

He compared himself to a journalist or documentarian, saying: "I don't regret bringing horrid things to the attention of the public."

He insisted that the posts were automated, that he does not endorse the content, and the views expressed in the content shared to his account do not reflect his personal views "in any way, shape, or form".

Labour antisemitism accusation 'a false flag'

Jacqui Harris, the Reform UK candidate for Kenilworth and Southam, shared, liked, and retweeted a number of posts comparing the modern state of Israel to Nazi Germany. The posts are from an X account that has since been deleted, but the posts have been preserved by the Internet Archive.

On 28 January 2019, the day after Holocaust Memorial Day, she replied to Boris Johnson's tweet marking the day that Israeli Jews are behaving similarly to the Nazis.

She wrote: "At this time when we are remembering the horror of Auschwitz - those who were treated so badly back then, seem to have a short memory and are now behaving badly against fellow human beings now! look how they are treating the innocents in GAZA?"

Although criticism of the actions of Israel, as any other, is perfectly acceptable, comparing it to Nazi Germany is antisemitic under the internationally-recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism.

On 3 March of that year, Harris tweeted approvingly in response to someone who said allegations of antisemitism against Jeremy Corbyn were "a false flag, probably masterminded by mossad/cia." [Israeli and US intelligence services].

On 15 December 2019, she liked and retweeted a post that read: "Trump ran for office on a platform of 'America First' - his actions over the last 3 years have clearly demonstrated, he is 'Israel first' #Puppet".

The link directed to an article claiming that "All the credible, independent, and objective evidence proves that Israel and the United States were behind 9/11. Despite the fact that the Zionist controlled US mainstream media simply ignores all the evidence."

Harris was previously a councillor for the Conservative Party. She was suspended from the party in 2019 amid allegations of antisemitism, and was later cleared. She was suspended a second time in 2020.

She did not respond to a request for comment from Sky News.

Reform 'should revisit support for these candidates'

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: "The records of these Reform UK candidates that we have unearthed are incredibly troubling. From conspiracies about Rothschilds and Israel controlling American presidents to antisemitism-denial, comparisons of the Jewish state to Nazis and the great replacement theory often associated with the far-right, these social media posts are vile and rife with breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism.

"These candidates have serious questions to answer. The Reform Party clearly needs to revisit its support for these individuals."

A spokesperson for said: "Some months ago we approached all the major UK political parties offering our automated background screening services. We were delighted to be asked to help Reform.

"Everyone's working assumption was that the election would be in the Autumn, giving us the Summer to complete this work.

"Given the explicit need for candidate consent, as well as our systems needing basic personal data like dates of birth, our automated software was not able to process Reform's candidates with the data that was provided when it was provided.

"We do not intend to litigate this in public, and we send Reform our best wishes as they shake up the UK political landscape.

"Mr Bloom has not had anything to do with the UK Conservative Party since 2022 and remains politically neutral."

Reform UK did not respond to a request for comment.

:: The candidates for Northampton North are:

Antony Antoniou, Reform UK

Eishar Kaur Bassan, Green Party

Dan Bennett, Conservative Party

Paul Clark, Independent

Christopher Gordon Leggett, Liberal Democrats

Khalid Razzaq, Workers Party of Great Britain

Lucy Rigby, Labour Party

:: The candidates for Kenilworth and Southam are:

Paul Richard Charles De'Ath, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Alix Dearing, Green Party

Nicholas Robert Blunderbuss Green, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Jacqui Harris, Reform UK

Cat Price, Labour Party

Jenny Wilkinson, Liberal Democrats

Jeremy Wright, Conservative Party