Former Queen guitarist Brian May has claimed that the Jewish community’s outrage over his description of the culling of badgers as a ‘genocide’ was a ‘manufactured’ smear by the ‘pro-cull lobby’.
Mr May, a campaigner for animal rights, had called the government-ordered killing of 5,000 badgers in the West Country a ‘genocide in the countryside’.
Members of the local Jewish community responded by calling Mr May's remark ‘shocking’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘inappropriate’, and pointed out that the term genocide applies to killing people.
Mr May hit back in a blog post on his website. He said: “My sincere apologies, of course, to anyone who felt upset by this. It would never be my intention in any way to slight the Jewish community.”
However, he went on to say that he believed the media stories were a smear attack orchestrated by those in favour of killing badgers.
He wrote: “My feeling is that, although there are apparently genuine comments here from religious leaders, this story has been 'manufactured', as part of the continuing effort by the pro-cull lobby, to try to discredit me, smear me, because they desperately wish I would shut up - stop telling the truth.
He said: “I can't imagine that rabbis are glued to their TV sets, analysing the words that I speak. I imagine that it's more in the line of a reporter ringing up and saying, ‘Hello - we're doing a story on Brian May using inappropriate words which might upset Jews - would you like to comment?’”