The World Jewish Congress and the Board of Deputies of British Jews clearly have a lot of time on their hands. They have called on Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to act over Spurs fans’ continued use of what they delicately refer to as ‘the Y-word’. That very phrase – ‘the Y-word’ – is designed to suggest that this word is the moral equivalent of the N-word. Let’s say it: Yid. And the truth is that there is nothing morally wrong with Spurs fans chanting ‘Yid Army’ or ‘Yiddo, Yiddo’. On the contrary, through self-identifying as Yids they are expressing a sense of pride in their football club.
Anyone who attends a Spurs match will know right away that the Yid chants have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Spurs have long had a large Jewish fanbase, and fans, both Jewish and gentile, embraced the label as an act of solidarity and defiance. Unfortunately, the World Jewish Congress is not prepared to give Spurs fans the benefit of the doubt. Its chief executive, Robert Singer, says the word Yid ‘has for years been re-appropriated from its original Yiddish to carry a distinctly pejorative and anti-Semitic 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’.
Who made Singer a god who must decide how football fans describe themselves?
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