A man who taught his girlfriend’s pug to make Nazi salutes when he said “Gas the Jews” and “Heil Hitler” appeared in court on Monday charged with a hate crime.
Mark Meechan, 29, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, was arrested after he uploaded footage of the dog, called Buddha, performing the Hitler salute on YouTube. In the footage called ‘M8 yer dugs a Nazi’ Buddha is also filmed intently watching Adolf Hitler address a Nazi rally in the film ‘Olympia,’ which documents the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936.
Meechan denies any wrongdoing and insists he created the footage in April last year to annoy his girlfriend, Suzanne Kelly, 29.
Ephraim Borowski, 66, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, told Airdrie sheriff court that the video was “grossly offensive” and that he had lost members of his own family in the Holocaust.
“It stuns me that anyone should think it is a joke,” Borowski said, according to The Times.
“My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between an off-hand remark and the amount of effort that is required to train a dog like that. I actually feel sorry for the dog.
“In many ways, the bit I found most offensive was the repetition of ‘Gas the Jews’ rather than the dog itself.
“The other thing that struck me was the explicit statement that this was intended to give offence and intended to be the most offensive thing he could think of – and then he says he isn’t a racist – but unfortunately we hear that all the time from people.
“I’m no historian but it is the marching signal of the Nazi stormtroopers who contributed and supported the murder of six million Jews, including members of my own family, and I take this all slightly personally.
“Material of this kind goes to normalize the anti-Semitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of. The Holocaust is not a subject for jocular content.”
Borowski added that many members of the Jewish community in Scotland felt threatened by the video’s contents and that the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities website was bombarded with abusive comments after the footage emerged.
“The threat is against the Jewish community and there is an echo chamber effect with people trying to be more offensive.
“160 pages of messages about this were collected by us in a day, they supported it and it was extremely anti-Semitic.”
The video is still widely available to users and continues to rack up thousands of hits a day. It now has more than 3 million views.