Dutch police are investigating reports of football fans chanting anti-Semitic slogans including calls for Jews to be burned and sent “to the gas chambers” during a match at the weekend.
Videos have emerged online from FC Utrecht’s 1-1 draw with Ajax in which a group of fans can clearly be heard shouting the anti-Semitic songs and clapping.
According to Dutch media reports, the chants went on for several minutes and included a common refrain of: “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”
Another chant, which was apparently filmed by someone in the stands and posted to YouTube, declared: “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews, because Jews burn the best.”
The Dutch football association, the KNVB, has denounced the chants as “reprehensible and disgusting” and said it was currently investigating.
The incident, during the Eredivisie match at midday on Sunday, has received widespread coverage in the Dutch news media after the discovery of the video.
Ard van der Steur, the Dutch justice minister, said he had been made aware of the incident and described the chants as “abhorrent”. He brought up the matter in the Dutch parliament and said such incidents had no place in society.
According to the daily newspaper Het Parool, the “SS” chant appeared to come from the hardcore section of FC Utrecht fans housed in the section of the Galgenwaard Stadium known as the Bunnikside.
In a statement published by the newspaper, FC Utrecht issued an apology and said it was assisting police and the KNVB with the investigation.
“Of course we will now do everything to trace these people and take appropriate action… Stadium bans could be a part of this.”
The club added that it felt punishment is “not the only solution”, and called for the issue of anti-Semitism to be tackled at its root in Dutch football.
Ajax is regularly the target for anti-Semitic chants because of the historical presence of a Jewish community in Amsterdam, according to the Jerusalem Post.
And Ronny Naftaniel, a prominent Dutch Jewish anti-discrimination activist, was quoted by the Post calling for Ajax to call a halt to future matches featuring anti-Semitic chants.
“When will Ajax players walk off the field?” he said. “Take action against anti-Semitism.”
An Ajax spokesman suggested the club was only aware of the chants through the football association. While Miel Brinkhuis condemned the anti-Semitic sentiment, he said the issue was “really something between FC Utrecht and the KNVB”.
Source: The Independent