The Jewish Chronicle in the UK reports that an Arsenal football (that’s soccer to us Americans) team fan website is kicking up an anti-Semitic controversy. The fan forum, called We Are The Herd, is posting Stars of David next to the names of site members who have paid the least in the ways of membership dues and donations.
We Are The Herd claims to be an alternative fan organization that eschews what it reportedly views as the overly politically correct atmosphere that football officials are trying to create around the sport. Football has been notoriously connected to racism and anti-Semitism, especially among the fans in the stands.
The British Jewish community’s Community Security Trust, which fights bigotry, anti-Semitism and terrorism, issued a statement condemning this activity. A spokesman was quoted as saying, “This kind of casual and pervasive anti-Semitism is quite disgusting. Arsenal fans, both Jewish and non-Jewish, must intervene to stop this kind of nonsense.”
Similarly, a representative of the Football Association’s Kick Racism Out of Football initiative declared, “Kick It Out is committed to making football a discrimination-free zone, whether that be on the pitch, the stands or where it exists online.
“Anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish abuse and intimidation is an issue very much ‘front of mind’ and appropriate steps will be taken in this instance.”
Offensive comments posted by members who have expressed opinions about Jews and money have apparently been left on the online forum by its moderators. This would seem fitting, given that the organizers of the group posted the following themselves: “”This site isn’t for the politically correct, it isn’t aimed at children and it certainly isn’t aimed towards the new breed of supporter that seems to have been caught up among the Sky hysteria that has made football fashionable…We don’t want to express our views on sanitized sites that are administered by those that don’t understand terrace culture.”
True, not everyone “gets” the rude chanting and sometimes thug-like behavior of football fans in the stands, but you don’t need to be a soccer devotee to knows anti-Semitism when you see it.