The performer Alison Chabloz, on trial this week at Westminster Magistrates’ Court over three songs alleged to be antisemitic, was repeatedly denounced as a Holocaust denier by the Crown Prosecution Service barrister Karen Robinson.
But Ms Chabloz, giving lengthy evidence on her own behalf in a delayed second day in court, insisted that her songs were “satire”, that she was “an artist”, and that freedom of speech meant she was entitled to her opinions.
Ms Chabloz is facing five charges of sending, or causing to be sent for viewing on social media, several videos of her playing three songs, two of which were performed in front of an audience of the London Forum in September 2016.
She is said to have embedded a link to one of the performances on a WordPress page she runs, called “Tell Me More Lies,” and posted a separate performance on YouTube.
But in nearly two hours of testimony, Ms Chabloz insisted that “many Jewish people find my songs funny”, and claimed that there was no “official” evidence that gas chambers had been used as a murder weapon to kill Jews during the Holocaust.
Defending the lyrics of her songs, which include the description of Auschwitz as a “theme park”, Ms Chabloz referred repeatedly to “the so-called Holocaust” which she said was “a fiction” designed to facilitate “the criminal Jewish state” in Palestine.
She complained about the “official narrative” of the deaths of six million Jews and deplored the practice of sending schoolchildren to visit Auschwitz, which she said was”allowing the so-called Holocaust to be used as a manipulative weapon to prevent nationalist feelings among Europeans”. It was used, she said, to “persecute Holocaust dissidents in democratic countries.” The Holocaust, she declared, was “used for Machiavellian ends”, and claimed that “there are plenty of Holocaust revisionists who are Jewish.”
She described herself as a Holocaust revisionist rather than a Holocaust denier, but said that there had never been “an official investigation” into many of the claims made about what happened during the Second World War.
Prosecutor Karen Robinson asked the defendant over and over again to explain the lyrics of her songs, which she said had been deliberately set to well-known Jewish melodies such as Hava Nagila in order to cause maximum offence. But Ms Chabloz denied this, and said she had no hostility to Jewish people. She had the right to express her views, she said, and disagreed vehemently with Ms Robinson who said that such views as expressed in the disputed songs were “racist”. “Some may say that”, Ms Chabloz said, smiling broadly.
She said that her very presence in court was “proof” of an external control of the media, society, the banks and even the justice system. There were “a disproportionate number of Jews in the media, the Houses of Parliament”. And, she added: “I strongly disagree that [my lyrics are] racist. The love of a people for its country is not racist and could equally be applied to Israel and Jews”.
No-one, she said, was forced to listen to her songs and she did not accept that they were grossly offensive, instead insisting that they were “funny” and that those who were offended “were offended at being laughed at”.
Ms Chabloz said her attacks were aimed at “Zionist Jews” and that “Orthodox Jews don’t want a state of Israel”. When Ms Robinson said that her songs “targeted Jews because they are Jews”, the defendant responded: “There are plenty of Jews who find my songs funny”.
One of the three contested songs, (((Survivors))), using the “echo” brackets said to identify Jews on line, focuses on the experiences of three survivors, Irene Zysblat, Elie Wiesel and Anne Frank. Ms Chabloz said stories of all three had been debunked, and that she had chosen to write about them “because their tales are dubious”
A written submission to the court was provided by Ms Chabloz’s friend Peter Rushton, described as a writer, who had researched documents in the British Library designed to support the defendant’s assertions. Among the books he cited on her behalf, it was said, had been Norman Finkelstein’s controversial book “The Holocaust Industry”.
District Judge John Zani said he would take written and final oral submissions from Ms Robinson and Ms Chabloz’s defending barrister, Adrian Davies, before announcing a verdict on May 25.