The Scottish owner of a Nazi-saluting dog has been found guilty of religious and racial aggravation and will be sentenced next month.
Markus Meechan had filmed himself training the pet to give Nazi salutes in 2016 in response to the phrase “Gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil,” then put the footage on YouTube, where it was viewed more than three million times.
In the video, he says his purpose is to annoy his partner, explaining: “My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is, so I thought I would turn it into the least cute thing that I could think of, which is a Nazi.”
Later, after the dog is seen ‘watching’ videos of Hitler, Meechan says: “I’m not racist.”
This week he was convicted of the hate crime in contravention of section 127(1)(a) of the Communications Act 2003, and of the religious and racial aggravations libelled along with the charge.
Meechan, of Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, denied wrongdoing, but was convicted at Airdrie Sheriff Court by Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, who described the contents of the video as “grossly offensive”.
O’Carroll added that the stunt was “racist and anti-Semitic,” adding: “The description of the video as humourous is no magic wand.” Sentence has been deferred by the court to 23 April.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”