Tuesday, August 11, 2015

UK: British football is still rife with antisemitism

From the Telegraph, Written John Mann MP

The effect of this ambivalence towards antisemitic rhetoric should not be underestimated. In grassroots football, the impacts are severe and wide-ranging. I know of parents who have either withdrawn their children from local games or who simply see antisemitism as part and parcel of the pitchside experience when watching their children. I know the same can be said for parents of young Muslim children too. Racism either on or off the field in these surroundings is wrong, discourages diversity in the game and in our local communities, and is simply an anathema to all the positive disciplines and experiences that football should provide.

Nor should the impact on Jewish players and communities in the professional game be underestimated. David and Ivor Baddiel have powerfully explained the impact on the two of them as Jews, sitting at a Chelsea match and encountering someone shouting “F*** the Yids” and then “F*** the Jews” when the Spurs score was projected on the jumbotron. As part of my efforts as chair of the all-party Parliamentary group against antisemitism, I have produced reports that explain just how wrong, inappropriate, hurtful and offensive Holocaust analogies can be for the Jewish community. Imagine the impact then, when thousands of fans are hissing to imitate the sounds of the gas chambers at Auschwitz.


Outright racism, although it still exists, has become less acceptable in mainstream football and initiatives to broaden black, Asian and minority ethnic involvement in the game at all levels are ongoing. Antisemitism and Islamphobia , however, have not enjoyed the same degree of attention.   more

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