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Author(s): Dart, Jon
Date: 2021
Abstract: In June 2020, Black Lives Matter UK (BLM-UK) posted a series of tweets in which they endorsed the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Calling for ‘targeted sanctions in line with international law against Israel’s colonial, apartheid regime,’ one tweet claimed that ‘mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism’. The tweets were seen by some to be antisemitic and resulted in the English Premier League, the BBC and Sky Sports, which had hitherto been supportive of the Black Lives Matter protests, distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement. One month later, during the BLM protests in the USA, Black NFL player DeSean Jackson posted material to his Instagram story that was also viewed as antisemitic. This article unpacks, via these two sports-based incidents, the relationship between anti-racism, antisemitism, and anti-Zionism. I discuss how these tensions are not new, but a clear echo of the tensions that existed in the 1960s and 1970s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement; these tensions continue because the foundational issues remain unchanged. These two incidents raise important questions about how sports organisations operate in a world where sport is seen as ‘apolitical’ and strive for ‘neutrality’ but fail to recognise sport is political and that a position of neutrality cannot be successfully achieved. The article assesses the challenges that arise when sports organisations, and their athletes, choose to engage in a certain kind of sport politics.
Author(s): Poulton, Emma
Date: 2019
Abstract: While the anti-racist movement in English football has been established for 25 years, antisemitism was not specifically addressed until much later – most publicly through anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out’s The Y-Word (2011) film campaigning against the use of ‘Yid’ in football fan culture. Antisemitism has occupied a sporadic position on football’s wider anti-racism agenda. Antisemitism in football is also a neglected area of research. The article addresses this academic indifference by contributing a critical analysis of the intermittent responses to antisemitism in English men’s football – by governing bodies, campaigners, and the criminal justice system – using a multiple streams approach to understand policy formulation, legitimation and implementation, arguing these attempts have usually been reactive and sometimes misguided, inconsistent, or misaligned with existing legislation. The role of ‘policy entrepreneurs’ is considered in relation to individuals lobbying for and influencing the priority of tackling formations of antisemitism amidst broader attempts to combat racism and faith-based abuse in football. This empirically-grounded critical analysis is informed by primary data from interviews with elite stakeholders from English football (The Football Association; Kick It Out) and Jewish community (Board of Deputies of British Jews; Jewish Leadership Council; Community Security Trust; Maccabi GB). The article explains the changing political salience of combating antisemitism and concludes with a call for a more congruous and coherent approach to addressing antisemitism, faith-based abuse and other forms of discrimination in football, which might lend itself to other sports and contexts. It also critiques the utility of the multiple streams approach.
Author(s): Dart, Jon
Date: 2020
Author(s): Verhoeven, Joram
Date: 2017
Date: 2016
Abstract: This is the first empirical study to explain the contested uses and meanings of ‘Yid’ in English football fan culture. A pertinent socio-political issue with important policy and legal implications, we explain the different uses of ‘Yid’, making central the cultural context in which it is used, together with the intent underpinning its usage. Focusing upon Kick It Out’s The Y-Word campaign film (which attempted to raise awareness of antisemitism in football by advocating a ‘zero tolerance’ policy approach to ‘Yid’), the complex relationship of Tottenham Hotspur with Judaism is unpacked. The origins of this complexity stem from Tottenham traditionally attracting Jewish fans due to nearby Jewish communities. As a consequence, Tottenham is perceived as a ‘Jewish’ club and their fans have suffered antisemitic abuse from opposing supporters who have disparagingly referred to them as ‘Yids’. In response, Tottenham fans have, since the 1970s, appropriated and embraced the term by identifying as the ‘Yid Army’. Critical analysis of fan forum discourse suggests that many Tottenham fans thought The Y-Word film failed to sufficiently understand or demarcate between the multiple meanings and intentions associated with use of ‘Yid’ as both an ethnic epithet and term of endearment. We call for an appreciation of the nature of language that acknowledges the fluidity and temporality of linguistic reclamation and ‘ownership’ in future policies to combat antisemitism.