NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress was appalled by a video that circulated on social media Saturday evening depicting supporters of West Ham United Football Club chanting a hateful and objectionable fan song containing the words “f**ing Jews.” The video footage was posted by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, gaining immediate notice.
Any West Ham United fan that thinks this horridly offensive and hateful chant was nothing more than a carefree demonstration of team spirit is sorely and dangerously mistaken. Demeaning any group or person for the sake of camaraderie is the exact opposite of sportsmanship and must be condemned and penalized to the highest degree appropriate.
We are encouraged that the leadership of West Ham United issued immediate condemnation, and pledged to take action to identify the offenders, but this is sadly just one of many antisemitic and xenophobic displays plaguing the world of football in recent months and years.
We need more than just a promise to punish the perpetrators of this particular round of hate speech. All football clubs, associations, and players must make it absolutely clear that such behavior is completely out-of-bounds and will not be tolerated. Failure to prevent such displays only gives a green card to repeated behavior. We cannot just suffice with reacting to hate, we must do everything in our power to stop it before it takes place. The spirit of sport is building bridges, not divides, from the leadership of a club and down to its fan base.
Filmed by @mishyrichman.@WestHamUtd fans were caught today in Manchester chanting a horrible antisemitic song. This video was filmed by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who encountered this terrible moment.— WJC (@WorldJewishCong) April 13, 2019
This is what antisemitism looks like in 2019. pic.twitter.com/MGGQ9kLCcs