Police in the Dutch city of Arnhem has started an investigation after supporters of local football team Vitesse were recorded chanting “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” on the city’s historic John Frost bridge.
The chants were posted on social media in the run-up to the final of the Dutch Cup against Ajax Amsterdam and Vitesse. Politicians, supporters’ groups and Jewish organizations denounced the incident.
The Mayor of Arnhem, Ahmed Marcouch, described the group as “cowardly haters”, who “have dented put a dent on the soul of us Arnhemmers and our beloved Jewish community, on the same bridge where we fought so hard for our freedom.” The Mayor called on bystanders to report the incident in order to “erase the blemish” of the incident.
“It is downright sad that a small part was unable to behave”, said Vitesse director Pascal van Wijk. “We explicitly distance ourselves from this. And not just us as a club. The vast majority of our supporters who came to their match and showed their best side fully agree with this.
The Central Jewish Board (CJO) expressed its “outrage and appallment by these antisemitic statements by Vitesse supporters” and asked for legal action. For its The Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) called the chants “disgusting”.
It is not the first time that the Arnhem supporters have been caught singing such chants. In 2018, the club imposed a stadium ban on six supporters following antisemitic chants a it during a Vitesse-Ajax Eredivisie match.
The John Frost bridge is named after Major-General John Dutton Frost, who commanded the British forces that reached and defended it from Nazi German forces during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944.