Funny, They Don’t Like “Yiddo”!
Something funny happened on Thursday after I read a Daily Telegraph newspaper article about British comedian, David Baddiel.
I appreciate that he’s a comic genius, but that’s not what I mean. David and his brother, Ivor are fronting a national campaign to stamp out antisemitism in British football and with it, the derisive use of the word ‘Yid’ in chants against Jewish supporters.
But just as I began to add my own view to a column of largely unpleasant readers’ comments, the online response section was closed and moved to another, related article.
The Baddiel brothers, with other campaigners who are part of the anti-racism group Kick It Out, also condemn fans for making hissing noises to imitate the sound of the gas chambers during the Holocaust.
Such practice is unutterably vile and should be stamped on without delay. However the words ‘Yid’ and ‘Yiddo’ have been used for years to identify Tottenham Spurs Football Club supporters because a high proportion of them are Jewish. So I must argue, if ‘the Yids’ themselves are not offended by the term, why should anyone else?
Ivor Baddiel explains: “’ … For one thing, the vast majority of Tottenham fans calling themselves "Yids" are not actually Jewish, and despite the fact that in their eyes they are turning an insult on its head by owning it, in fact they are making an extremely racist term appear acceptable.
“’One wonders what would happen if a group of non-black football fans decided to call themselves "N----- Army". Furthermore, the fact that Spurs are called "Yids" leads to other antisemitic chants and behaviour, such as hissing, and allows for use of the word to spread beyond football grounds and football fans. This is not a chicken and egg debate though, no blame or cause is being attached to any one club. It is football's problem and the whole of football needs to address it.’”
This is a problem which has blighted British soccer at intervals for more than 30 years and continues to be actively encouraged by extremists on opposing sides of the political spectrum as a way of helping to break down law and order in society.
Yet the Baddiels are correct to highlight the current situation which has become especially acute, reflecting what is happening in an increasingly polarised British society as attitudes towards the Jewish community become ever more sour following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and the coincidental international economic downturn.