Belgian Jews condemn decision to acquit football fans who sang antisemitic chants

The Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organisations (CCOJB), the country’s EJC affiliate, has strongly condemned a decision by the country’s football association to acquit fans of Club Brugge after the supporters made anti-Jewish and homophobic chants during a game against Brussels side Anderlecht.

Among chants at the game, Brugge fans sang “Anybody who doesn’t jump is a Jew” and “All Jews are gay”.

The CCOJB said the decision of the football association to describe the comments as inoffensive meant that there was no zero tolerance against racism, homophobia and antisemitism.

In its statement, the CCOJB underlined that :

“In its verdict, the commission of disputes motivated the “chants should be considered as neutral and non-offensive. The terms used only indicate a sexual orientation or a group of people. As for the word “homo”, the word “Jew” does not gave any devaluing or discriminatory connotation.”

The CCOJB condemned the court’s double standards in cases of racism, homophobia and antisemitism: its words are never enough, but even less when its acts contradict these. It is no longer a case of “zero tolerance”, but “100% complacency”.

Instead of standing behind the universal values that sport (and football in particular) must promote, our football bodies facilitated hatred between groups”.

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