A new Irish far-right group is targeting members of the Jewish community in Ireland. The group has begun producing stickers with an anti-Semitic caricature alongside a list of names of prominent Irish people with Jewish backgrounds.
Also targeted are asylum seekers and NGOs who, the group argues, are conspiring with the government to “silence” critics of Ireland’s immigration policies.
Anti-Semitism and conspiracies
The movement goes by the name M269 Gang. In its Telegram group pictures of the stickers have been uploaded. And photos of the stickers being placed in towns around the country have also been shared.
One sticker shows an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jewish man with text blaming Jewish people for COVID-19. Another sticker, using the same anti-Semitic caricature, lists the names of well-known Irish people of Jewish background. Alongside this list are displayed the names of other prominent Jewish people known to have worked with the British Empire in previous centuries. The word “Coincidence?” is placed under the two lists, apparently in an attempt to draw a link between them.
Other stickers produced by the group target asylum seekers, migrants, and NGOs. One claims that the housing crisis is “intentional” and that the government is “using mass immigration to keep rents high”. And that NGOs are being used to “silence” critics of the crisis.
The “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory is also referred to in some stickers. Advocates of the “Great Replacement” believe there is a global conspiracy involving governments and elites to replace the white population of western countries. On one sticker produced by M269 it’s written that Irish people “are being replaced”. Another calls emigration to Ireland an “invasion”.
“Our issue IS race”
According to posts in its Telegram group, the name M269 group refers to a “racial code” for people of Irish origin.
M269 is in fact one part of the Y chromosome which makes up the DNA of people of Irish descent. The group administrator insisted that use of M269 as the group’s name is to show that racial origin is important to them:
Using a DNA marker for our name makes it clear that our issue IS race, we are “race-ist” [sic].
The administrator went on, proclaiming that the so-called Irish “race is under attack”. It’s contended that the source of these attacks are “NGO marxists [sic]”. And that the government, permissiveness in society, and “parasitic capitalists and hordes of foreigners” are also responsible.
The Beacon showed the stickers in question to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI). In response, a spokesperson said that “Such abusive material is truly abhorrent to see”. They called on people to “show zero tolerance to race-based lies and hate”, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was also pointed out that last year the UN criticised Ireland for its lack of hate crime legislation and not having a national action plan on racism. And although the new government has promised to introduce both measures, the ICI insisted that this “happens quickly”.
The Irish Network Against Racism (INAR) was also contacted about the stickers. Its spokesperson highlighted that Ireland has a “long and ignoble history of antisemitism”. More recently though, the far right is still trying to stoke anti-Semitism “in subtle and not-so-subtle guises”.
The sticker campaign represents one of these attempts and that
This cynical attempt at manipulation of people’s anxieties and the targeting of Irish jews in this manner has sinister echoes of European history.
INAR’s spokesperson called for a safe and inclusive Ireland that shows Jewish people and minorities that the far right “don’t represent us” all.
This article was updated on 4 August to include a statement from the Irish Network Against Racism.
Featured image via Flickr – William Murphy