Northern Ireland – Former Belfast councilor posts “smirking merchant” meme on platform favored by far-right days after appearing in patriotic alternative interview

Belfast – A former Belfast City Councillor has posted a well-known antisemitic meme on Gab, a platform favored by the far-right, days after being interviewed by the leader of the far-right group Patriotic Alternative.

Gab is a social-media platform that was founded in 2016 with a claim to “champion free speech,” and has become a haven for supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and other far-right groups and individuals banned from mainstream platforms.

Its founder, Andrew Torba, was accused of antisemitism after he reportedly posted a string of tweets containing inflammatory remarks about Jewish people, including one which said that Gab was building a “parallel Christian society” after being “fed up and done with the Judeo-Bolshevik one”. 

Patriotic Alternative is a UK-based group headed by the former leader of the youth wing of the BNP, Mark Collett. Mr Collett is reported to have dabbled in Holocaust denial, is regularly heard as a guest on the radio show of the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, David Duke, and has described the Holocaust as “an instrument of white guilt”.

Jolene Bunting posted the “Smirking Merchant” meme to her Gab and Telegram accounts. The meme depicts a hook-nosed man with a nefarious grin wearing a head covering and holding banknotes and is thought by many to be a classically antisemitic representation of a Jewish person. 

Also included in the meme were offensive portrayals of Black people and Muslims alongside the caption: “We are NOT the problem…”

Ms Bunting, who was first elected to Belfast City Council in 2014, was suspended in 2018 following fourteen complaints. Some of the complaints are believed to have been in relation to Ms Bunting’s posting of a video from the far-right group Britain First as well as tweeting a “racist and offensive” cartoon.

Subscribe to website

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new items

you might also be interested in:

Report to us

If you have experienced or witnessed an incident of antisemitism, extremism, bias, bigotry or hate, please report it using our incident form below:

Subscribe to website

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new items

Skip to content