Following the collection of abuse hurled at Scotland’s Celtic Israeli midfielder Nir Bitton during his tenure with the soccer club, Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf issued a statement condemning the racism.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, this was in response to the outcry regarding Bitton from the Jewish Leadership Council’s Scottish region manager Danielle Bett, who used a recent example of the Israeli midfielder being called a “dirty Jew” after Sunday’s match against the Rangers.
“Would love to see more condemnations of this from those who would usually condemn racism in football anywhere,” Bett tweeted, according to the report. “I’m not interested in the teams, allegiances or football. This is disgusting racism which ought to be called out and shut down.”
Yousaf said that “antisemitism deserves the same contempt as Islamophobia and any other prejudice.”
“Passion about your club (or even against a rival) is all part of the game – racism, prejudice and hatred are not,” he added.
Originally from Ashdod, Bitton has spoken out previously regarding the abuse he receives from Scottish fans for being an Israeli, according to the report. Celtic FC notified police of antisemitic tweets the midfielder has been receiving as of late, who are currently investigating a few including one that referred to him as a “Jew bast**d” with another calling him a “Zionist rat.”
Many of the Scottish games are racially driven. While Yousef called out Celtic fans for the antisemitic abuse towards Bitton, he drew criticism for not condemning the racist rhetoric hurled at Celtics fans from their Rangers counterparts.
“I am not sure I can be any clearer: that all hatred – including anti-Catholicism – is a disgrace and to be condemned,” he concluded.