By Fiona Leckerman
A major high street chain has promptly apologised after a security guard at its Borehamwood branch refused entry to a group of Yavneh school pupils, who claim he told them, “No Jews, No Jews”.
The group of children, including two 11-year-old boys, were targeted by the guard on Friday, who reportedly pointed at the badges on their Yavneh school uniforms.
Two year seven boys, Nathan Rosen and Daniel Levitan, who had just completed their first week of secondary school, were refused entry at 2.20pm, according to their parents.
Other Yavneh school children, who wore coats concealing their uniforms, were said to have had no difficulty getting into the store.
Sports Direct said that an area manager, in the store at the time of the incident, had the guard “removed” that day.
Writing to Nathan’s father David, Senior Independent Director Simon Bentley said the area manager had also compiled an internal report which details actions taken by the chain’s head office including “liaising with the security company whose guard was the individual who made the offensive statements.
“This was followed by the removal of the guard and, we have been advised by the security company’s owner, his being let go by the company”.
Saying the statement made by the guard was “entirely contrary to the company’s policy”, Bentley added: “I apologise for the distress and trouble that your son, you and the others involved suffered.
“At Sports Direct, we take pride in the lack of prejudice amongst our trained staff, who are encouraged to show respect to all our customers whatever their religious denomination.”
David Rosen had taken to social media to demand an apology after being unable to contact the chain by phone. “His first week of school as an 11-year-old and a lasting memory will be an obvious act of anti-Semitism in a predominantly Jewish area where a not insignificant number of your customers are Jewish,” he wrote. “A non response will be deemed a flagrant fanning of the flames of anti- Semitism.”
Writing ahead of the apology, he said: “My message is to expose anti-Semitism in any form and to ask Sports Direct to positively confirm that Jews are welcome at their stores. They messed with the wrong father and I won’t let this go lightly.”
Daniel Levitan’s mother Judith Levitan said she went straight to the store after her son texted on Friday afternoon to tell her what happened.
On arrival, she says she was told “it was a contracted security guard and it was really nothing to do with Sports Direct and that I wasn’t the only mother who had been in.” She and other parents demanded that the guard come to speak to them but he didn’t appear.
Levitan said: “I have been on the receiving end of anti Semitism but I was angry and
disgusted that my 11 year old and his friends had to experience this in
their first week of school.”
A CST spokesman said: “This was a ridiculous act of antisemitic bullying against young Jewish children and the offender has now suffered the consequences.”