David Baddiel has dismissed claims that ethnic origin entitles Tottenham fans to call themselves the ‘Yid Army’ by insisting only ‘three or four per cent’ are Jewish. Tottenham rallied around their supporters, after Society of Black Lawyers chairman Peter Herbert urged police to prosecute those who hold aloft banners bearing the name ‘Yid Army’ and chant it during games. Club bosses welcomed the police response that there was ‘no deliberate intent to cause offence’ and that it was more a form of self-parody by a predominantly Jewish support. But Baddiel, the comedian and writer who is himself Jewish and a fervent Chelsea fan, is adamant such a line of defence was factually incorrect and that anti-Semitic abuse should be stamped out wherever it occurs.
‘The idea that Spurs fans are reclaiming the Y-word and are entitled to because so many of them are Jewish is simply not true,’ he said. ‘There are only 250,000 Jews in Britain as a whole and I’d say about three or four per cent of Tottenham’s crowd is Jewish. ‘That means well over 90 per cent of those chanting “Yid Army” are not actually Jewish and that is just one of several reasons why it cannot be right. If, for instance, there was a team in Brixton called Brixton United, and they had a mainly white support who adopted the N-word as their badge of honour and went round chanting “N***** Army”, they would be closed down tomorrow. ‘At Tottenham, the club’s “Jewishness” is just an historical association with the area. It’s doubtful that there are more than five per cent actual Jews in the ground at home games (only 0.4 per cent of the UK is Jewish).
So the argument “but it’s just like Snoop Doggy Dogg using the N-word” does not apply to most Spurs fans.’ Although some Tottenham fans may view ‘Yid Army’ as nothing more than a label identifying which team they follow, Baddiel has experience of why the term has more sinister undertones. ‘I was at a Chelsea match with my brother Ivor two years ago,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t even Tottenham we were playing. It was Villa, but news that Tottenham were losing at Hull appeared on the big screen and this bloke sitting behind us started saying “F*** the yids! F*** the yids!” followed by “F*** the Jews!”. If there was any doubt about it being an anti-Semitic term, rather than a name for a group of fans, that answered it. ‘The thing to remember about yid is: it’s a race-hate word. It was daubed across the East End by Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts. ‘The only possible reason why a culture which has tried to dismiss other race-hate words to the margins of language would consider it acceptable is if the racism of which it is a part is somehow less offensive, somehow less significant, than other racisms. ‘This is actually what the normalisation of the word at football has led to.
It might seem strange that the fan at Chelsea could have shouted “F*** the yids!” without a steward intervening: racist abuse at football grounds is supposed to lead to an immediate ban. ‘But a friend of mine, a Watford fan, who once heard his fans chanting the Y-word, with menaces, at Spurs fans, on complaining to a steward was told, “I don’t hear any racism”. ‘That’s why I decided to bring out a video on the subject and there was one objective — to make this sort of racism heard, above the chanting. ‘The only fans shown in the film chanting the Y-word are Chelsea and Arsenal ones; the fans shown extemporising from yiddo into a song celebrating Auschwitz are Chelsea ones. This is important, as the debate seems to have got mired into being just about Tottenham fans. ‘The chant, and associated anti-Semitic abuse, exists far beyond White Hart Lane, at the above-mentioned clubs, at Millwall, at West Ham, even at Ajax. ‘Tottenham, of course, can lay claim to be the only club chanting it in support of their team. I respect and acknowledge that.
But there are reasons why that, too, has to be addressed. ‘Although Spurs fans consider they are just responding to racist taunts, the continuing use of the Y-word by Spurs fans informs and sustains the racist abuse aimed at Spurs by other fans. The more Spurs do it, the more it comes back. ‘Many opposing fans feel they are justified in using the chant (and associated anti-Semitic abuse) because “The Yids is what Spurs call themselves”. ‘Additionally, we cannot mount a campaign aimed at stopping fans chanting anti-Semitic abuse and using anti-Semitic language while saying, “But of course, it’s OK for this one set of fans”. ‘It has to be zero tolerance. And, as I have said, most Spurs fans are not in fact Jewish. If we are going to have zero tolerance, it has to be a level playing field, applied to all forms of racism.’
Source: Daily Mail
Far too much being read into this imho