Belgian Jews demand soccer club stop antisemitic chants in the stands

Yohan Benizri, the President of the federation said that it is “continually trying to fight antisemitism, including in football stadiums."

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December 17, 2017 22:41
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AEK Athens' Giorgos Katidis (C) celebrates a goal by making a Nazi salute

AEK Athens' Giorgos Katidis (C) celebrates a goal during a Super League soccer match by making a Nazi salute. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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BERLIN – The Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations requested Friday that management of the Bruges FC soccer team crackdown on antisemitic chants in the stadium ahead of its Sunday match with the club Anderlecht.

According to a Friday report in Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française, the public broadcasting news outlet of French-speaking Belgians, Yohan Benizri, the President of the federation said that it is “continually trying to fight antisemitism, including in football stadiums. We regularly talk to clubs and federations about antisemitic chants and how they are dealt with during matches. This Sunday’s match will be followed very closely.”

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According to the report, Bruges fans have chanted “Al wie niet spring is een jood” (who doesn’t jump is a Jew) during Bruges-Anderlecht matches. The chant “Jew” is meant as a pejorative term for the Anderlecht player.

Alex Feuerherdt, a German journalist and expert on antisemitism within professional football, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “Antisemitism has also been a big problem in European football for years. The Simon Wiesenthal Center listed European football fans in their 2012 top-ten list of [people expressing] antisemitic and anti-Israel slurs because of antisemitic slogans and chants. That should have been a warning.”

He added that despite the warning from the human-rights organization, there are still antisemitic activities in football stadiums, now including several in Belgium. Feuerherdt said football associations must send a powerful signal and “strongly penalize the fans who are engaged in antisemitic activity, including the deduction of points” from a team during a match whose fans are stoking Jew-hatred. He said the clubs must ensure that stadium bans be issued to antisemitic fans.

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