NEW YORK — The World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD) have condemned the use of the word ‘Yid’ to describe Tottenham Spurs, a London football club that has historically called itself the ‘Yid Army’ due to its large Jewish fan base.
“Contrary to the protests of many fans, there is no grey area when it comes to slurs that target a particular religious, racial, or ethnic group. The word yid has for years been re-appropriated from its original Yiddish to carry a distinctly pejorative and antisemitic 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,” said WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer.
“The innocence this word once carried, as a simple translation for Jew, has long disappeared, and we must be extremely conscious of the antisemitic connotation it now bears.”
“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,” Singer said.
“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.”
Chelsea FC and the World Jewish Congress last year launched Red Card for Hate a three-pronged program aimed at fighting racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and antisemitism.
In this framework, Chelsea FC, the club owned by Roman Abramovich, will send stewards to the major clash with Tottenham in an attempt to curb antisemitic chanting
The Blues’ fans will travel to Wembley with club officials who will chuck out any racist supporters
Matches between the two clubs have a history of racist chanting, with Tottenham fans having long called themselves the ‘Yid Army’ in reference to their Jewish roots, but Chelsea fans have repeatedly used the word to cause offence