Anyone caught spewing such disgusting, vile Jew-hate at a football match, or anywhere else for that matter, is trivializing the horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people who were almost completely mass murdered into extinction by the evil Nazi (National Socialist) regime and their helpers in the various states it occupied during WWII, and should be condemned.
Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article on Dutch soccer antisemitism was originally published at the Began-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), and republished here with the author’s consent.
THE PERVASIVE ANTISEMITISM IN DUTCH SOCCER STADIUMS
“My father served with the commandos, my mother was with the SS. Together they burned Jews, because Jews burn best.” This is the text of one of the classic antisemitic songs chanted on Dutch soccer fields.
Antisemitism in the soccer world is not limited to the Netherlands. The problems at the leading London Chelsea football club – which has a Jewish owner– are so persistent that the club has announced a campaign against antisemitism.1 What is happening in the Netherlands is, however, far worse. It is long-lasting, has spread widely among soccer fans and entered the public domain.
Probably more than thirty years ago a group of fanatic non-Jewish supporters of the major Amsterdam soccer club, Ajax started to call themselves ‘Jews.’2 As a reaction fans of competing clubs began to use antisemitic slogans against them. Ajax has no specific relationship with the Jewish community and is not owned by Jews. Decades ago, Ajax had two international players who each had a Jewish father. It has also had a chairman or two who were Jewish, but this does not add up to much of a Jewish character or image.
In its 1999-2000 Annual Report, Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute of Anti-Semitism and Racism reported: “Anti-Semitic slurs have long become the norm at football matches in the Netherlands. Hissing, slogans and chants such as ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’ are often heard during games.”3
At the end of January Ajax played in Rotterdam against its local nemesis Feyenoord. When the bus with the Ajax players arrived at the Rotterdam stadium, five Feyenoord supporters shouted antisemitic slogans. In a rather rare occurrence, the police identified them. They were fined each 500 Euro. (USD$600)
These antisemitic outbursts among soccer fans occur also elsewhere. On the same day in the center of Leeuwarden, a provincial capital, fans of two other Dutch football clubs publicly chanted the song about the burning of the Jews. One supporter posted this event on social media and received positive reactions from his followers. There was not a single negative reaction to this Facebook post. It has since been removed.4
This pervasive soccer antisemitism is the result of tolerance for expressions of extreme hate including antisemitism in Dutch society. It manifests itself in many ways. As far back as 2004, the director of the CIDI organization which fights antisemitism, said that it was futile to lodge complaints with the authorities. He remarked that he had even appealed to the court concerning extreme expressions of antisemitism which the prosecution did not want to deal with.5
Worse even, also in 2004, the mayor of Heerenveen, a town with a major football club, opposed in the commission dealing with soccer vandalism the taking of serious action against hate songs. He said it would be a reward to the hooligans if a game were stopped because of 100-200 fans.6 This whitewasher of the problem stated a substantially lower number of hooligans than there were in reality.
On International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, 2008, a text message appeared on the video screen at the Vitesse stadium during a game against Ajax. It read, “Hoezee, hoezee, Long live Zyklon B,” referring to the gas used in extermination camps during the Holocaust.7 A Vitesse spokesperson later expressed the club’s regrets and said that fans can send SMS texts for the video screen. She explained that before being posted, they are checked, but that this particular one had slipped through.8
In 2011, the late Uri Coronel, the then chairman of Ajax, who was Jewish, tried to convince the fans of his club to refrain from using the nickname ‘Jews.’ His efforts had no result.9 Coronel has said that he once entered the Feyenoord stadium between a double lineup of youngsters who made the Heil Hitler salute.”10
As the antisemitic hate chants against Jews were regularly heard by tens of thousands spectators in stadiums they spread to other targets. A match in 2004 between two first league clubs, ADO from The Hague and PSV Eindhoven was refereed by René Temmink. Many fans chanted, ”Hamas, Hamas, Temmink to the gas.” The match was thereupon ended.11 A year earlier at a game between the same two clubs, the PSV fans shouted ‘Cancer Jew’ at the then referee.12
The antisemitic hate chants have also spread into the public domain. In 2009, there was an anti-Israeli demonstration in Amsterdam in which two left-wing parliamentarians participated. There were chants of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas.” The parliamentarians later claimed that they had not heard them.13
By 2011, the public mood was finally ready for a zero-tolerance approach toward expressions of antisemitisim in stadiums. Thus, much publicity focused on hate chants at a celebration of ADO supporters after its victory against Ajax. There, the fans, including ADO players “We go chasing Jews.” They also sung “Hamas Hamas, Jews to the gas” This chant had already been prohibited by the Supreme Court in 2009.14 The trainer of ADO, and his assistant, were also present. One of the players was heavily fined by ADO.15
Then parliamentarian Richard de Mos of the Freedom Party, who is also still a member of the Municipal Council in The Hague, condemned the antisemitic chants, submitting parliamentary questions asking for measures against antisemitic slogans in professional soccer.16 Thereafter, De Mos, an ADO fan himself, received death threats from supporters of the club.
Soccer antisemitism has by now been fully integrated into the wider “culture” of Dutch antisemitism. Even though self defining Jews represent only 0.2% of the Dutch population, in 2017 out of all complaints about punishable discrimination which reached the prosecution, 41% concerned antisemitism. More than three quarters of these were related to soccer.17
The head of the Dutch rabbinate, Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, said already more than ten years ago that when something happens in Israel “I am shouted at in the street, ‘Hamas, Hamas Jews to the gas’”
Jacobs tells the story of once entering a train together with a non-Jewish psychologist. “It was full of Feyenoord supporters who sang ‘Jews to the gas.’” He remarked that the psychologist was very afraid. Jacobs said, “I showed indifference as a sign of strength.” He added, “One could consider this incident as hooliganism, but if one of these idiots had attacked us, probably many of them would have done the same.”18
The extreme Dutch antisemitic slogans in soccer are a typical example of how hate mongering can freely develop in the Netherlands where the elite falsely believes that their country is tolerant.
2 Uri Coronel, personal communication to author.
3 1999-2000 Annual Report, Stephen Roth Institute on Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University, 2000. See also www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw99-2000/netherlands.htm.
5 Milco Aarts, “Hooligan baas in stadion,” Telegraaf, 18 September 2004.
7 “Antisemitism Worldwide 2008/9,” The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, 12
11 Robert Misset, “Staking na wangedrag ADO-fans,” Volkskrant, 18 October 2004;
12 Hadassa Hirschfeld, “Antisemitische incidenten in Nederland. Overzicht over het jaar 2003 en de periode 1 januari – 5 mei 2004,” CIDI. [Dutch]
14 Arne Hankel, “Ook Hoge Raad vindt Hamas-leus beledigend,” Elsevier, September 15, 2009.
15 “Geschrokken Immers: Jodenjacht leek mij onschuldig,” AD, March 21, 2011.
16 “Kamerlid PVV met dood bedreigd door fans ADO,” AD, March 23, 2011.
18 Interview with Binyomin Jacobs, “rabbijn in een polariserende samenleving.” in Manfred Gerstenfeld Het Verval, (Amsterdam; Van Praag 2009), 175-176.
A Tundra Tabloids’ note: Couple the outrage in the above, with the anti-Jewish floats in the Belgian city of Aalst, and you can see where the European continent is headed, adding Jew-hating Muslims into the mix and voilá, total disaster.
And do take note of the diamonds on top of the hats of Hassidic Jews: