The British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, removed an opinion article published in its online version by the Estonian populist member of the European Parliament, Jaak Madison – the article was removed after Jewish News, Britain’s most popular Jewish newspaper, reached out, it is understood.
Jaak Madison, an Estonian Conservative People’s Party MEP, originally published the article under the headline “By keeping the UK hostage, the EU elite is becoming the architect of its own downfall”.
In the article, Madison wrote that “It has been more than one thousand days since the [Brexit] referendum took place, and every single day since then political elitists, both in the UK and in the EU, have held the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland hostage.”
Madison accused the EU for being “hostile to the democratic will of the people” and said that “soon they will have their EU army”.
The populist MEP took a particular aim at Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian politician who served as the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) from 2009 to 2019 and a fellow MEP. “…maybe Guy wants to go back to The Congo. And to indulge anti-Americanism by subverting NATO. More likely, looking at the hostility the EU shows to dissident governments, it would not restrict itself to lawfare in its suppression of troublesome provinces. They would not be the first Union to send its tanks into a disobedient Budapest,” Madison wrote, directly comparing the EU with the Soviet Union that suppressed the Hungarian uprising, a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies in 1956.
Praising Adolf Hitler and Nazi policies
Madison became well known in Estonia after the general election of 2015, when it emerged that in a blog post, he had justified the practices of the Nazi regime and praised Adolf Hitler’s economic policies. “In my eyes, fascism is an ideology that consists of quite a few positive and necessary nuances to preserve the nation state,” he wrote. “It is true that there were concentration camps, forced labour camps, games with gas chambers were being played, but at the same time such ‘strict’ order brought Germany at the time out of a thorough s***hole,” he also wrote.
Madison has never retracted or apologised for his comments.
Furthermore, in August this year, Madison used a Nazi term – originally used to camouflage the Holocaust – against immigrants in Europe. He posted an article on his Facebook page on 1 August about a murder committed by a Syrian immigrant in Stuttgart, Germany, and added a comment: “New Europe and new Germany – one day an Eritrean pushes little boys and their mothers in front of a train, the other day a Syrian cuts a Kazakh with a sword. Let’s be tolerant and open, right? Die endgültige Lösung ist erforderlich.”
“Die endgültige Lösung ist erforderlich” (“the final solution is required”) was used by the Nazis as a designated term for the “final solution” to persecute and murder Jews. From 1941, this euphemism was intended to camouflage the Holocaust – a genocide of six million Jews – externally, to ideologically justify it internally.
After some reaction in the Estonian media and a condemnation by a veteran Estonian MP, Enn Eesmaa (Centre Party), Madison took to social media again on 2 August to comment on the matter – in which he stood by his words and launched a strong verbal attack on those who criticised and condemned him.
Not letting the Nazis have a voice in the largest broadsheet
Madison’s article in the Telegraph was a longer version of a two-minute speech given by the MEP in the European Parliament. The Jewish News, the largest Jewish newspaper in the UK by distribution, published an article on 19 September in which it said that after it reached out the Telegraph, Madison’s article was pulled. “This was obviously an unsuitable choice of columnist for the Telegraph and we are the pleased the article has been taken down,” Dave Rich, director of policy at the Community Security Trust, a British charity to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK, told the Jewish News.
Jaak Madison represents the EKRE, a radical and populist party that first entered the Estonian parliament in 2015, winning seven seats. In the 2019 election on 3 March, the party more than doubled their seats and currently has 19 MPs. The party was subsequently invited to form the current government with the populist Centre Party and conservative Isamaa. The party’s leading figures, including Madison, have over the years stood out for their use of xenophobic, racist and homophobic rhetoric.
The Daily Telegraph, known online as the Telegraph, is a daily broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1855 and published in London by Telegraph Media Group. The paper has the largest circulation for a broadsheet newspaper in the UK and the sixth largest circulation of any UK newspaper.
Cover: Jaak Madison (Facebook).