The West Ham soccer team banned two supporters from attending its matches after a group of the club’s fans were filmed singing an anti-Semitic song as a Jewish man boarded a plane.
The mob, on a flight from the UK to Belgium to watch a West Ham game, were heard chanting, “We’ll be running round Tottenham with our willies hanging out,” referring to a rival soccer team known for having many Jewish supporters. “Willies” is British slang for penises. The chant continued, “Singing I’ve got foreskin haven’t you,” referring to the Jewish ritual of circumcision.
Police arrested two men on suspicion of hate crimes enroute back to England.
“The arrest has been made in connection with our investigation of a video on social media of a man being subjected to harassment whilst taking his seat on board an aeroplane before it departed from Stansted Airport on 4th November,” Essex Police said in a statement Saturday after the second arrest.
“I don’t see our football club being like that. We are a diverse football club. There’s no room for discrimination anywhere,” manager David Moyes said Friday, according to the Jewish News.
Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment are increasing in the UK.
According to a report by the Community Security Trust (CST), 2021 showed a record 460 anti-Semitic incidents in a single month – the highest monthly total since the charity began record keeping in the 1980s.
On Tuesday evening, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely was rushed from the London School of Economics (LSE) pursued by a pro-Palestinian mob angry at her appearance at the prestigious university’s debate society.
In 2018, a British court banned two soccer fans from attending England matches for three years for singing an anti-Semitic song at the World Cup in Russia.