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Dutch police arrest 150-plus soccer fans for chanting antisemitic slogans

Opponents of Ajax Amsterdam often refer to the club as “The Jews,” as the team has had several Jewish chairmen and notable players.

Ajax soccer fans celebrating the club's 30th Dutch national championship in 2011. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Ajax soccer fans celebrating the club's 30th Dutch national championship in 2011. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Police in the Netherlands arrested more than 150 soccer fans on Saturday night for chanting antisemitic slogans while making their way to a match in Amsterdam.

The incident occurred at a metro station close to the capital’s Johan Cruijff ArenA, home of Ajax Amsterdam.

Local news station AT5 said those arrested were AZ Alkmaar supporters.

Opponents of Ajax often refer to the club as “The Jews,” as the team has had several Jewish chairmen and notable players.

European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin thanked Dutch police for their “determined and decisive action” and called on the board of AZ Alkmaar to commence an educational initiative with the participation of the first team squad, as well as for the club to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Jew-hatred.
“Antisemitism has no place and must be given no quarter in the Europe of 2023. Those who do not stand up against it with Jews today will find themselves the object of the same hate speech by those same thugs tomorrow,” said Margolin.

Last year, two Dutch fans responsible for antisemitic graffiti targeting a soccer player were ordered by a judge to perform 60 hours of community service and to visit the Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam.

The Feyenoord supporters—two men ages 42 and 47—drew graffiti on a wall in Rotterdam depicting soccer player Steven Berghuis with a large, hooked nose and dressed in the same striped garments worn by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. The former Feyenoord player was also shown wearing a yellow Star of David badge and a kippah.

The text accompanying the caricature said: “Jews always run.”

In 2021, police in the Netherlands investigated footage from a pre-match rally during which fans chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

The incident occurred prior to a game between the Arnhem-based Vitesse and Amsterdam-based Ajax.

Two years earlier, a Jewish man, identified in the Dutch media only as “Joram,” was verbally and physically assaulted by a group of 50 men on a national holiday known as Liberation Day, as police stood by.

The men, wearing soccer shirts of the Feyenoord club of Rotterdam, had been sitting in a park near the Dutch parliament building, singing, “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews ’cause Jews burn the best,” when Joram asked them to stop.

Despite complaints to the police, they apparently did not react, while the crowd pushed Joram, who was wearing an Ajax Amsterdam cap.

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