British football was this week reeling from yet more anti-Semitic hatred as police began investigating online abuse directed at Tottenham Hotspur fans and Arsenal legend Ian Wright said he was “ashamed” of his former club’s fans.
The former striker Wright took to Twitter to blast the vile rhetoric, saying: “Gotta say, reading some of the tweets the spurs fans are sending about what AFC fans say about the Holocaust! Ashamed!”
Several comments referred to the Holocaust, with one fan saying: “Every Tottenham fan can be put back in the gas chambers and gassed to death!” Another wrote: “I laugh at your oven baked ancestors.”
A spokesperson for the Kick it Out campaign said: “We have informed True Vision, an online reporting facility run by the police, of a number of anti-Semitic messages published on Twitter.2
The Holocaust Education Trust (HET) weighted in to condemn the remarks, calling them “disgusting,” while the Community Security Trust (CST) said the whole episode was “depressing”.
Police revealed that they were investigating the anti-Semitic slurs, which were sent during heated online exchanges between rival fans. A CST spokesman said they had received several reports from members of the community.
The issue of anti-Semitism in the sport has been brought sharply into focus over the last 12 months, with debate about the acceptability of Tottenham Hotspurs fans using the word ‘Yid’ to describe themselves.
The latest furore, however, is grounded not in stadium chanting but in online abuse, with Twitter being forced to roll out an in-tweet ‘report abuse’ button in the summer, as part of a wider crackdown.
“It is depressing to see how social media is repeatedly used to spread this kind of stupid hatred,” said Mark Gardner, a director of the CST.
“The only positive is that the perpetrators received so much direct criticism that in most cases they have quickly removed the tweets.”