Monday, February 25, 2008

UK and Polish football fans most anti-Semitic in Europe?

Or so says a report by British MP John Mann alongside English activist Jonny Cohen (who I think is from the 'Socialist Zionist Culturally Jewish youth movement' Habonim Dror UK) presented at the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism, in Jerusalem.

In the report - entitled Anti-Semitism in football - a scar on the beautiful game - Man has counted over 30 incidents of anti-Semitic abuse at football matches across Europe. The Jerusalem Post reports:

The UK and Poland are the worst offenders, according to the 16-page document, which describes anti-Semitic incidents in 18 countries across Europe. The report notes that "in Polish matches fans routinely call each other 'Jews' as a term of abuse.

One example detailed occurred in May 2006 during a Polish cup tie between Stal and Resovia Rzeszow, where "fans of Stal exhibited a huge flag with the motto: "H5N1 - not only one Jew will die" and a banner with a Celtic cross - a racist symbol of white power."

Another occurred in Krakow in March 2007, when fans of Legia Warsaw chanted "Jews, Jews, Jews, [the] whole of Poland is ashamed of you."

There is no doubt that there a quite a few right wing thugs in Polish football. And they can be very unpleasant. One of the worst clubs with a history of this is Lodz LKS, which is, or was, according to a report by the AJC Berlin Office/Ramer Centre for German-Jewish Relations ‘heavily infiltrated’ by the fascist nut job National Revival party (NOP).

And it’s not just the fans painting their dumb swastikas on walls and chanting anti-Semitic chants on the terraces. It’s actually in the dressing rooms of the clubs themselves, alleges Frankline Mudoh, who claims that coaches from many teams in Poland are ‘put under pressure from players not to include blacks in their team’!

The Jerusalem Post goes on:

In the UK, the report says, fans of Arsenal chanted "Send the Jews to Auschwitz."

The report also details anti-Semitic verbal abuse directed towards Israelis, including chants shouted at national team goalkeeper Dudu Awat of Spanish club Deportivo La Caruna during games against Osasuna, and the assault on Hapoel Tel Aviv fans after the team's win over Ukrainian team Chernomorets.

The Arsenal obsession comes from the hatred of their north London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, with its home ground in an area which once had a relative concentration of Jews living there. One of the chants you can still hear at Arsenal – whether Spurs are playing or not – is I've got a foreskin, how 'bout you?'

How quaint!

Arsenal fans have always protested that when calling fans and players of Spurs ‘yids’, they were not being derogatory to those players and fans – the vast majority of which are obviously not Jewish. And some of the supporters of Spurs call themselves the ‘Yid Army’...strange but true.

So, how large is this problem and is it on the rise? Mann, the MP who wrote the report, certainly thinks so: “The oldest hatred - anti-Semitism - continues to rear its ugly head in football," he writes in his report.

The football authorities in Poland were slow to get going on anti-racism measures, after black players began to come and play here. Michal Listkiewicz, chairman of the Polish Football Authority ignored the problem, and was slow to act, as he was against fighting endemic corruption in the game. But anti-Semitism on the terraces (and in the dressing room) is not dependant on what happens at football clubs. Anti-Semitism is used by fringe and populist political groups, which had a field day in the two years of the Kaczynski government – so encouraged they were by the weird administration in power.

But maybe the populist moment – which peaked in the wake of EU accession – has waned here. There are still the meat-heads of course, and they won’t be going way anytime soon. But as a political force these groups are spent. For now.

Is Poland a quivering pogrom time bomb waiting to go off? Is anti-Semitic Polish or English football culture getting worse? Not really.

And the admittedly offensive chanting of Arsenal fans in London? I honestly don’t think that has much to do with anti-Semitism at all. Not much.


Anonymous said...

Only 30 anti-Semitic soccer incidents across all of Europe?

There were probably 10 times that in Glasgow just against Catholics!

Unknown said...

"And the admittedly offensive chanting of Arsenal fans in London? I honestly don’t think that has much to do with anti-Semitism at all. Not much." Huh?????
Oh wait... you are so right! When I call a black guy a 'nigger' because he pissed me off it's not an expression of my racism - just my anger. I could not be racist - I do have a negro friend... Dude!!! That's a kind of crap people used to say in the old days. BR, I hope you were not serious and I just missed the sarcasm due to low levels of caffeine in my system this morning.

beatroot said...

Firstly, I think it is right, like Geez does, to get things in proportion. 30 incidents is actually not that much, in the ‘whole of Europe.’ So I don;t think anti-Semitism is sweeping the continents football grounds.

As to Arsenal. The fans are not chanting AT Jewish people when they are going on about ‘yids’...because they know they are not yids (which is where they are different from some down in Lodz, who think that all left wing politicians and media owners are Jews and part of the conspiracy....bluururushshs

Arsenal fans are acting in a different way from anti-Semites. It is part of the piss taking culture of soccer terraces. Now, to polite society this may seem not very nice – and it isn’t – but it is not a sign of wide spread anti-Semitism at Arsenal football ground. They know Spurs are not full of Jews. The chanting is not aimed at Jews. It’s aimed at Spurs. That’s how it works.

But like I say – I am not that keen on that part of Arsenal. In fact, I was brought up to hate Arsenal. Even now when they play such beautiful football with a team full of genius French Africans coached by their urbane French manager.

There is no wide spread anti-Semitism at Arsenal. They are a way too middle class club these days to let this interupt their prawn sandwiches at half time.

Unknown said...

Not sure how many incidents it would take to constitute "wide-spread"? Is there a formula?? And a thing I really don't get is why are you having problem with people keeping track of those kinds of incidents? At least we can quantify the problem and see if there is a statistically significant increase in the frequency . It's a "damn-if-you-do-damn-if-you-don't" proposition - if you don't keep track of it, then any claims become purely anecdotal. If you do, then you gonna be accused of blowing things out of proportion. Which leads me to my question: BR, what is the point you are trying to make in your post??

beatroot said...

Not sure how many incidents it would take to constitute "wide-spread"? Is there a formula??

No. Not. But any formula that included ‘30’, in the whole of Europe; in a nine month season, with millions of people at football matches all over the continent, as its score over the season would be considered ...not wide spread.

I am not for one moment saying that anti-Semite bigots – and there are a few, bit more, among the political class in Poland – should not be challenged and ridiculed. All the time! Look at my archive! But we have to keep realistic in our understanding of what is going. The antics of Arsenal fans is not the same as some Lodz fans. And I think both groups are not a grave threat to the world as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Do many Poles even follow a club side in Poland???? Every Pole I've spoken to - whilst they will follow their national side with a passion and maybe have adopted an English Premier league club - has next to no interest in any Polish club. It seems only a minority are interested in sides like Lodz in the first place.

Brad Zimmerman said...

Ericnave: Yes, they do. I don't know what "many" is... but there are plenty of Poles, mostly guys (and my wife) who are fans of a particular club, usually from their home-town, and give each other a hard time at work about the other person's team.

Then there are the semi-evolved simians who routinely attend matches, drink, act tough and shout abuse at the small contingent of opposition team fans who've been allowed to also attend the match. Occasionally they actually watch a bit of football while they're at the match.

It may be the beautiful game but the fans are, by and large, ugly as hell.

Frank Partisan said...

I had to reread your conclusion, to catch the irony.

Coming from Australia.

Anonymous said...

It would more appropriate to discuss the Jewish anti-Polonism which is by far more pervasive than anything anti-Semitic at a soccer game. There is an endless assault on Poland and Poles by Jews in the media. Most of this comes from the US and Israel but very little from Jews living in Poland.

Holocaust survivors and their heirs living in Israel are trying to acquire Polish citizenship in order to gain eligibility for restitution from the Polish government.

Look for a massive effort to go after Poland with the full muscle of the US government behind them for massive restitution, in the same way as they went after the banks in Switzerland. And if this succeeds then the Germans will use this as precedent for their assault on Poland.

Anonymous said...

¨There were probably 10 times that in Glasgow just against Catholics!¨

And double that against Protestants!!!

(Not that any of the inbred neds have been near a Church for a long time)

varus said...

I think there are two issues here.

1) Are Arsenal fan's actions anti-semetic?
2) Is anti-semetism widespread in football/EU?

BR, i understand your thinking that Aresnal fans know Spur fans are not jews, but that doesn't mean it is not anti-semetic. They are being derogatory to Spurs fans by labelling them with something that in their eyes (and its their preception that counts) is a lower form of person. Otherwise why are they doing it? The chants show that the Arsenal fans think less of Jews than of anyone else ergo anti-semetism.

I agree though that thiry is a supprisingly low number. I would have actrually expected that many of incidents just in Lodz, let alone the whole of Europe.

As i've said before, Lodz does have a problem and you were right to pinpoint it, but football is just the public face of a deeper problem. Unfourtunatley, the claims that from Iserealies that Anon mentioned do help to keep the stereotypes and prejudices alive.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon,

There's a Jew under your bed!


Anonymous said...

And he's a moyl!

beatroot said...

I am serious – ish about this. Is the act of Arsenal fans taking the piss out of Tottenham fans on the same planet as what Lodz fans get up to. No it is not and should be seen as something that is not aggressively antisemitic, because it is not.

Uncouth, offensive, yes, but not a sign that a pogrom is coming to north London.

Anonymous said...

Even in Lodz, you can only criticize about 10% of the fan base at most for being anti-Semitic. There was even a major campaign in that city by more decent minded folks, the vast majority I'd gambit, to paint over the anti-Semitic graffiti there.

Tottenheim fans are strange, even referring to themselves as Yids or Yiddoes. When a Tottenheim player does something to show off his skills, the cheer is "Yiddo, Yiddo!" One of the biggest rallying cries yelled by Tottenheim fans is "Who let the Yiddoes out" (adapted from the "Who Let the Dogs Out" song.) When the team acquired a blonde German striker some years back, the fans serenaded him with "Chimchiminee... Jurgen was a German and now he's a Jew."

Their skinheaded hooligans call themselves the "Yid Army" and they wave the Israeli flag. T-shirts are sold around the stadium that read "Yid4ever."

The funniest story is how when Man United fans taunted the Tottenheim fans at a game in Manchester with a song that bragged how they had foreskins, the Tott fans got together all their fans who were so unendowed to drop their trous and wave their wieners at the UMan fans -- a response that seemed to be a very effective rebuttal. I guess the ManU fans all had tiny pickeled cocktail weenies coz otherwise they would have waved back, no?

Anonymous said...

beatroot said...

Our good friends the League of Polish families were demonstrating in front of the Serb embassy today in Warsaw - "give Kosovo back to the la la la'.

Strange these parties side with Russia on this issue, innit?

Anonymous said...

Beetroot, for what it's worth, I agree with your point of view regarding Arsenal (or West Ham) chants aimed at Spurs. There's obviously a smidge of something in there just by the words chosen but it's not something to get all over-heated about.

I'd put it in the same camp as my suggesting we have a "chinky" for dinner (Chinese take-away). Mind you, I've been heavily mugged about that phrase before, but they were from San Fransico so I just know.

Anonymous said...

San Fransisco, that is, as in west coast USA where I appear to be able to get into trouble for just about anything I do - speaking, eating English breakfasts, smoking,

beatroot said...

Sounds like hell, man. But I don;t want people to misunderstand me: if you look back into the archives - or put 'anti-semitism plus beatroot' in google, you will see I think anti-Semites are revolting little tossers. I just think we should get things in perspective and keep our eye on the real anti-semites - not football fans just being a bit daft.

michael farris said...

Speaking of the LPR I thought you might write about Giertych the Elder's recent sex ed course in Brussels.

beatroot said...

Oh shit. I missed it....looking into it now....cheers Mikey!

Anonymous said...

What about Italy ? what about AS rome ? At least poles and brits do not try kill policemen and football players...

Anonymous said...

Beatroot said: “Our good friends the League of Polish families were demonstrating in front of the Serb embassy today in Warsaw - "give Kosovo back to the la la la'.

Strange these parties side with Russia on this issue, innit?”

Roman Dmowski is often sited by the LPR as their inspiration; he was of the opinion that the West posed a greater treat to Poland than the East did. He believed that Poles could be Germanized but could not be assimilated by the Russians therefore the Germans posed the greater evil. The LPR also apposed Poland’s membership in the EU and Nato.

Stuck in the 1930’s these crackpots define political irrelevance; I understand they’re holding their national convention in a telephone booth.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Polonism or anti-Pol---ice with tasers?

Has anybody seen the video of the Megaman vs the Polish Immigrant parody computer game based on the taser murder of the Pole in Canada?Seems it is being taken off everywhere it was posted.

beatroot said...


Roman Dmowski is often sited by the LPR as their inspiration; he was of the opinion that the West posed a greater treat to Poland than the East did.

I remember reading that and being a little shocked. Pilsudski seemed pragmatic - today would be called 'social democrat' - and Dmowski rather sideing with ....well,..Nazis. That's a fundemental difference between PiS (Pilsudski) and LPR (Dmowski).

This is one of the sources of the 'anti-Semitic Pole' stereotype.

Anonymous said...

Dmowski was a nationalist who admired and wanted Poles to emulate certain Germany ways (pre-WWII) and while he was essentially anti-Semitic, he was a far cry from being a Nazi.

Pilsudski, while rooted in a conspiratorial socialist tradition, wasn't all that much a socialist or social democrat when he got into power and was very dictatorial and authoritarian.

Polish politics was weird back then, too.

Anonymous said...

Reading that the Spurs fans call themselves 'Yid army' reminded me of a story of a friend. He went to a very Jewish school in North London. They regularly used to sing 'Yid army', Jews and occasionally gentiles too. He remembers an especially rousing version when on a school trip: there were German exchange students also on the bus.

There is an element of 'reclaiming' the term I think.

I though live near the West Ham FC ground. I was on the tube on a match day this year and the Hammers fans were singing hateful songs about 'the Yids'. I assumed they were i/ idiots and ii/ had lost to Tottenham that day.

When I checked, they'd played someone else that day. They do just hate Jews.

beatroot said...

As in the case of Lodz - where very very few Jews live, why would they hate an imagined and absent enermy? It must be a little more complicated than them hating people they never have any conact with. It;s about something else unconnected with anti-Semitism, I think.

Anonymous said...


There were a lot of Jews in Lodz.

Anonymous said...

a lot of this "anti semitism " is invented. They feign offence to swind;e money and remind us of the holocaust, including those that never touched them

Fuck the Jews! Tere, is that "anti semitic

Anonymous said...

a german saying a polish club was full of fascist nut jobs that a fucking joke. i remember the german public voting a fascist nut job into power in the 30's. if i was a german i would shut the fuck up when i come to pointing the finger at fascist nut jobs.

you my ask the world not to bring the german past up again but i will never forget

Anonymous said...

Only 30 anti-Semitic soccer incidents across all of Europe?

There were probably 10 times that in Glasgow just against Catholics!

Amazing how the "permanently offended" are deaf to the anti-protestant bile that pours from the stands of Celtic's stadium in Glasgow. What was it 50,000 of them called Walter Smith 3 times this season alone? A sad orange b*stard perchance? Why did tens of thousands of Celtic fans sing "go home ya huns" at Aberdeen fans in the Cup final in April 2011? I thought "Hun" was a term for Rangers fans? When that epithet is sung at fans of almost every other club in Scotland (Kilmarnock, Dunfermline and Hearts) it just confirms what we all know - Hun means Protestant to these bigots.

Glasgow has sectarian issues - that's not in doubt, but it's dishonest and bigoted to pretend that only one religion suffers from it.

Finally, given this is a blog about a report on anti-semitism, neutrals should be aware that only one set of fans in Glasgow (Celtic fans) fly, and are permitted to fly, the flag of the PLO at their stadium.

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Obhed Weeman said...

What about Italy ? what about AS rome ? At least poles and brits do not try kill policemen and football players...

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