‘Landmark decision’ in UK upholds conviction for Holocaust denial

According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism organization, the decision sets a precedent that Holocaust denial is ‘grossly offensive’ and therefore illegal.

Blogger Alison Chabloz, who is accused of posting anti-semitic songs on her site, arrives at Westminster Magistrate's Court in London on January 10, 2018.  (photo credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP)
Blogger Alison Chabloz, who is accused of posting anti-semitic songs on her site, arrives at Westminster Magistrate's Court in London on January 10, 2018.
(photo credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP)
A notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier in the UK had her appeal against her conviction for Holocaust denial quashed by a Crown Court on Wednesday.
Alison Chabloz, a singer and blogger, posted a series of songs mocking Holocaust survivors and inciting hatred against Jews, including allegations that the Holocaust did not happen, accusing Jews of “usury,” describing Auschwitz as a “holy temple” and “theme park just for fools,” and claimed that the use of gas chambers by the Nazis to murder Jews was “a proven hoax.” 
She also implicitly accused Jews of bleeding non-Jews dry, and controlling the media, books and TV, and set her songs to the music of Israeli folk songs “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem” and “Hava Nagila.”
During cross-examination in her appeal hearing, Chabloz said that there are liars in all ethnicities but that “Jews are more likely to tell lies. In the Talmud, it’s even encouraged. In the verses. Lying is following religious duty.”
She said that “Jews are overrepresented in banking, finance, the media,” that Jews control Twitter, and described herself as a “Holocaust revisionist,” claiming that only 600,000 Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism organization initiated legal proceedings against Chabloz over her YouTube songs as a private prosecution before it was taken over by the Crown Prosecution Service, the UK’s state prosecution service.
The UK Communications Act of 2003 stipulates that it is a criminal offense to send a message on a public network, such as social media, "that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.”
The UK has no explicit laws banning Holocaust denial as some other countries do, including Germany, Austria and indeed Israel.
Prosecuting individuals to protect other citizens from being offended as is set out under the Communications Act has however been criticized as a problematic infringement on freedom of speech which could lead to broader censorship of a wide range of debates and opinions.
CAA said following the ruling that the decision to uphold the lower Magistrates’ Court’s conviction of Chabloz was a “landmark precedent verdict on incitement on social media and on whether the law considers Holocaust denial to be ‘grossly offensive’ and therefore illegal when used as a means by which to hound Jews.”
Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, noted that Chabloz’s conviction was the first in the UK for Holocaust denial on social media.
“The Crown Court is a court of record, meaning that its judgment upholding the previous Magistrates’ Court decision sets a new precedent in British law,” he said.
“Many brave British patriots died in the cause of defeating the Nazis. Alison Chabloz is no patriot, and her actions defending the Nazis and claiming that the Holocaust was a fraud seek to defile their sacrifice. This sentence sends a strong message that in Britain, Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories will not be tolerated.”
Reading the court’s judgement, Judge Hehir said that the court did not have to entertain “absurdity or fiction” in cases of Holocaust denial and that “we take judicial notice of the fact that the Holocaust occurred.”
Turning to Chabloz, he said: “She is a Holocaust denier... she is manifestly antisemitic and obsessed with the wrongdoing of Jews,” adding that on the subject of the Holocaust “she has lost all sense of perspective.”
Addressing the songs themselves, Justice Hehir said of the first song: “It is by no means an exaggeration to call this song disgusting,” before describing her other songs in similar terms.
He added that “she positively intended to be grossly offensive to Jews,” before he confirmed that her original sentence was upheld.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court found Chabloz guilty last year and sentenced her to a 20-week prison sentence suspended for two years, 180 hours of unpaid community service, an indefinite order against contacting two leaders of Campaign Against Antisemitism, as well an order banning her from social media for 12 months.
The basis for the suspension of her sentence was that District Judge John Zani said he did not wish to satisfy her desire to become a “martyr.”