Meal Deal Talk Facebook group descends into antisemitic abuse

Members posted Anne Frank memes and joked about the ovens at Auschwitz

Jewish members of the popular “Meal Deal Talk” Facebook group have been subjected to a torrent of antisemitic abuse.

The furore started after someone posted a comment on someone else’s meal deal, saying they’d “seen better food served in Auschwitz.”

Group member Ian Piczenik called out the offending member, but the comments under his post quickly descended into jokes about gas ovens, Anne Frank memes and Holocaust conspiracy theories.

Jewish King’s College grad Simon Brunner was scrolling through the group on Friday when he saw the post, which has since been deleted: “I came across a post from someone with a personal connection to the Holocaust.

“The post was condemning a comment that compared a meal deal to food served at Auschwitz. If this wasn’t a shocking enough comparison, the anti-semitic comments that followed were utterly deplorable.”

The 200,000 member group, which exists for people to rate each other’s supermarket meal deal combos, has grown more than 10 times in size over the last week after a deluge of national press coverage. Simon thinks its sudden surge in popularity may be to blame for what’s happened.

I originally joined the group as it appeared to represent British humour at its finest,” he says: “But with its massive growth in popularity over the last week, it has completely spiralled out of control and become a medium for hate speech.

“I have seen (amongst others) homophobic, misogynistic and domestic abuse posts, some even encouraging members to commit suicide. Whilst all these comments are absolutely disgraceful, it was the anti-semitic posts that struck a chord personally.

“There’s no place in society for this hate speech, let alone in what was meant to be a light-hearted Facebook group. It confirms that there’s a huge amount of work to do in tackling anti-semitism and educating people that using the word ‘Jew’ in a derogatory sense is completely unacceptable.”

Safi Korn, a Jewish student at the University of Liverpool, agrees the comments are part of a much wider problem: “The anti-Semitic comments made are completely uncalled for – and as this group is predominantly popular with students, they make me very uncomfortable as a Jewish student on campus.

“To know that death threats and racism are at the root of this so called ‘banter’ is sickening and unacceptable.”

The drama comes just days after Christopher Biggins was kicked out of the Celebrity Big Brother house for making a joke about concentration camps to Jewish housemate Katie Waissel.

In a statement released today, Biggins has vowed to visit Auschwitz. Josh Zitser, whose grandma survived the infamous camp, doesn’t think it’s enough: “My grandma was in Auschwitz and her sibling and parents were murdered there. To this day she is depressed by the sheer horror of the events that occurred.

“As a Jew, I’m willing to accept non-PC jokes about Jewish stereotypes but it repulses me and baffles me how people can make jokes about the ovens and the brutal massacre of an innocent people.

“It’s surprisingly common, even amongst intelligent people, but it confuses and disgusts me how people fail to realise that they’re actually laughing at the deaths, in my personal experience, of my great-uncle and great-grandparents.”

Speaking to The Tab, original poster Ian Piczenik said: “If one has to resort to racism to draw a laugh, then what they say is not funny at all.

“Satire is meant to challenge the oppressors and not the oppressed. It saddens and concerns me that there is clearly, elevated from the story itself, still an issue with the attitude to antisemitism in this country, with great swathes of our own generation not recognising that antisemitism is racism, full stop.”

When we approached Harvey Davis for comment, he replied with eight crying laughing emojis.

Meal Deal Talk and everyone else mentioned in this article have been contacted.