Saturday, October 27, 2007

anti-semitism in english football

just read this article in the observer online. i've been away a long time, but i really thought things were better than in the 1980's when i was living on the edges of the world of top-flight professional football as a photographer for qpr.

"'Spurs are on their way to Belsen, Hitler's gonna gas 'em again...' It's not a song you would expect to hear on a family day out at a Premier League game, but it is one of several anti-Semitic chants still heard at some top-flight grounds. While the message about anti-black abuse is in the public consciousness, campaigners say that anti-Semitism is alive - and unchecked."

to the tune of 'one man went to mow', i remember being shocked at hearing 'one man went to gas, went to gas a yiddo' sung at loftus road by visiting supporters. i had no idea what to do about it. i told my friends, and they nodded sympathetically. the thing is, most jews in england don't want to stand out, and so they don't say anything about it when something anti-semitic happens. it has always been like that:

"Many of those approached by Observer Sport declined to be interviewed for fear of alienating themselves in the football world. Others did not want to draw attention to their Jewish identity and in some cases clubs felt it too controversial for their staff to discuss. The reticence reminds some of the days when black players were too frightened to speak about racism."

when i was at uni, the vice-chair of the student tory party was found dead drunk outside the halls of residence with the paintbrush in his hand, having painted 'juden raus' and 'death to the jews' and swastikas all over the walls. the school was prepared to fine him and have him pay for fixing the mess. being students, we were feeling a bit militant and so the j-soc (hillel) members sent a photo of a graffiti-ed wall to the jewish chronicle. it was published, the vandal got suspended for 6 months, and we felt good. a rare response, i think. that was more than 20 years ago.

am i surprised that the reporter has found the evidence she presents? absolutely not. are things going to change? i doubt it. yours pessimistically - the ravaj.

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