Leeds United soccer team speaks out against anti-Semitism

English professional football club Leeds United printed a statement on anti-Semitism on its Sunday matchday program against Leicester City.

The statement was printed on the day’s program, a document that highlights the match line-ups and relevant match details, and condemned acts of anti-Semitism that have increased in frequency in English Premier League matches.

“Discriminatory actions or language have no place in any part of football or society and everyone associated with Leeds United takes pride in being part of an inclusive and diverse club,” the statement read. “We want to make sure everyone feels safe and valued at all times.”

The statement also countered against Jewish fanatics who use potentially anti-Semitic language as a term of endearment. “A small minority of fans in the past have marred some matches using antisemitic chants, noises and gestures, offering a justification for opposition fans using specific terms as a form of identity,” the club said in an apparent reference to supporters. Jews from Tottenham Hotspur who colloquially refer to themselves as the “yid army”, a play on the Yiddish phrase “yid”, which roughly means “Jew.” Opposition fanatics have been documented to use the term derogatory against self-proclaimed “yids.”

The statement of support comes as cases of anti-Semitism have increased in the English Premier League game. Last Friday, a video was posted on social media showing several West Ham FC fans yelling “We have a foreskin, don’t we?” And “Tottenham get beaten wherever they go” to a haredi man who boarded a flight that were on fire and a Chelsea FC fan, Nathan Blagg, 21, pleaded guilty in court to seven counts of sending anti-Semitic messages between September 2020 and February 2021.

“We would like to urge all of our fans to think about the words they use and show their support in the right way,” the statement said.

AFTER FALLING to Tottenham Hotspur in last year’s Europa League qualifying, Sun Menachem (right) and Israeli champion Maccabi Haifa got off to a better start to their Champions League qualifying campaign on Wednesday night, drawing 1-1 in house with Kairat Almaty from Kazahkstan (credit: REUTERS)

The rise of anti-Semitism in the countryside is not unique to the UK. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report last June amid the most recent clashes between Israel and Hamas. In particularly egregious incidents, teams that have some sort of Jewish connection tied to their names – such as Ajax in Amsterdam, Tottenham Spurs in the UK and Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany – have had to face most of the harassment, with fans yelling. “Hamas, Hamas, Jews on gas” to Ajax, and “Jew, Jew, Eintracht Frankfurt” to Eintracht.
“Much work remains to be done to ensure that anti-Semitism is eliminated from European football,” the ADL concluded.


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