‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’: Nazi Chants Cast an Ugly Shadow Over Dutch Soccer Game

Dutch-soccer-Nazi

For the past decade, European soccer organizations have fought a public battle against racism. But now anti-Semitism appears to have emerged as a second front.

Michael E. Miller reports: It was a beautiful day for soccer in the Dutch town of Utrecht. Spring sunshine filled the stadium as the local team, FC Utrecht, kicked off against perennial powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam.

As the beautiful game slowly played out on the field, however, things in the stands quickly got ugly.nazi_arbeiter_poster_socialist

“According to Kick It Out, a British organization originally devoted to combating racism, anti-Semitic incidents are up in the English Premier League. A Kick It Out study released last month revealed that there were 59 reported instances of anti-Semitism during the first half of this season.”

“Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas,” sang a section of the home supporters towards the fans visiting from Amsterdam, a city historic in part for its Jewish community. “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews, because Jews burn the best!”

“That was more than during the entire previous season. Anti-Semitism made up a third of the total instances of abuse, and was second in frequency only to racism.”

The anti-Semitism was caught on video and quickly circulated among Dutch media. FC Utrecht issued an apology as Jewish organizations demanded action by soccer authorities.

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“The shocking chants weren’t an isolated incident, however. Instead, they were the latest in a string of anti-Semitic episodes that threaten to mar European soccer.”

Discrimination isn’t new to European football, or soccer. The sport has long struggled with racism, a problem which resurfaced recently when Chelsea fans pushed a black man off the Paris metro, chanting: “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”nazis_poster

“We’ve had issues like this since the ’80s,” said Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human-rights organization.

But anti-Semitism in European soccer appears to be getting worse. According to Kick It Out, a British organization originally devoted to combating racism, anti-Semitic incidents are up in the English Premier League. A Kick It Out study released last month revealed that there were 59 reported instances of anti-Semitism during the first half of this season. That was more than during the entire previous season. Anti-Semitism made up a third of the total instances of abuse, and was second in frequency only to racism.

One of this season’s worst episodes came when fans of the London club West Ham were caught on camera chanting “I’ve got a foreskin, how about you? F—— Jew” on their way to play Tottenham Hotspur, a team with a historically strong Jewish following. (Last year, several Tottenham supporters were arrested for chants referring to themselves as “Yids,” a derogatory name that some Hotspur fans have reclaimed.)

Other recent incidents have included fans — and in several instances players — making Nazi-like salutes.

For the past decade, European soccer organizations have fought a public battle against racism. But now anti-Semitism appears to have emerged as a second front.

Samuels said anti-Semitism in soccer is different today than it was decades ago….(read more)

The Washington Post



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