The racist emails sent to Chelsea’s Avram Grant

By Danny Caro, May 16, 2008

Chelsea manager Avram Grant has been the target of vile antisemitic abuse, the JC can reveal.

We have seen copies of emails sent to the Israeli, whose club last week distanced itself from claims by his agent that he had been a victim of race-hate.

One, full of mis-spellings, accused Grant of “having Palestinian and Arab blood on his hands”. Another branded his Israeli player Tal Ben Haim “a Jewish terrorist”.

Agent Pini Zahavi was reported to have told Ma’ariv newspaper last week that Grant had been the target of a hate campaign because he is Jewish and Israeli. He reportedly said: “They’re sucking his blood regardless of what he achieves.”

The club immediately dismissed Zahavi’s claims, “officially” distancing themselves from comments.

Zahavi later withdrew his claims, saying that he had been misquoted. He told our reporter in Tel Aviv: “What I actually said was that there are a hundred reasons why Avram is unpopular, the most important of which is that he replaced [Jose] Mourinho who was so liked and so successful.

“I then added as an afterthought that maybe, just maybe, it would not have been quite as bad if he were not Israeli and Jewish.

“I don’t think I even used the word antisemitism. Maybe I said it, but again as just one of 100 factors contributing to Avram’s unpopularity. Not one of the important factors.”

Grant was not the only recipient of such emails. Others have been sent to Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron, George Galloway and the JC.

Before the match against Manchester United, one invited Chelsea fans to “sieg heil the afternoon singing the usual Chelsea anti-Jewish song, and waving the Palestinian Hamas flag”.

The emailer even rewrote the Chelsea song Care Free, changing the words to ‘Care free Whever Ever You May Be, Shoot and Kill a terrorist Jew where ever he may be’.

Grant has refused to be questioned on the subject. His spokesman told us: “He doesn’t want to become a political or social commentary figure. He just wants to be known as a football manager.”

He said he was aware of the emails and the club is “proactive” in co-operating with police by gathering evidence for a prosecution. “When that happens we will be very high profile,” he said.

Grant’s sister, Ruth Grant Porat, believes that the coverage of him has been disrespectful but not antisemitic.

She said: "I'm scared to use a word like that lightly after what my father went through in the Holocaust

"I’ve been following the British media very closely on the internet and I haven’t seen any, except some occasional comments in the talkbacks. We went to the Carling Cup final and didn’t hear any antisemitism. The media did not show respect for Avram because he came from a country with no major football culture but I have seen a clear change in the tone of the press recently."

    Last updated: 11:27am, May 16 2008