(January 4, 2019 / JNS) The World Jewish Congress and the Board of Deputies of British Jews on Friday condemned the use of the word “Yid” to describe Tottenham Spurs, a soccer team that has historically labeled itself the “Yid Army” because of its huge Jewish fan base.
“Contrary to the protests of many fans, there is no gray area when it comes to slurs that target a particular religious, racial or ethnic group,” said World Jewish Congress CEO and executive vice president Robert Singer. “The word ‘Yid’ has for years been re-appropriated from its original Yiddish to carry a distinctly pejorative and anti-Semitic message, and its use by fans in the stands—either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals—must not be tolerated in any way.”
“The innocence this word once carried, as a simple translation for Jew, has long disappeared, and we must be extremely conscious of the anti-Semitic connotation it now bears,” he continued.
Singer also noted that “there has sadly been a long history of hooliganism and extremist behavior within football, particularly in England, and we hope that the actions being taken in good faith by Chelsea’s leadership to take punitive measures against any supporters that violate this code of conduct will help establish the groundwork for more tolerance among fans of all teams.”
“Thorough education is the key to eliminating xenophobia and hatred, particularly among young people, and we urge other sporting teams and associations to follow in Chelsea’s lead in bringing this message to their own supporters and players,” he added.
One of the club’s owners, Daniel Levy, is Jewish and has been subjected to anti-Semitism.
Last month, a fan was ejected during a match between the Spurs and Arsenal for a physical altercation following allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks.