As of now, I’m not one of the 30 per cent of British men with a criminal record.
I say “as of now” because this may be about to change.
On Tuesday, the Football Association revived that perennial, the Y-word on the terraces.
The FA’s general secretary, Alex Horne, said that the word Yid “is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer” and he considers the term to be “inappropriate in a football setting.”
He went on to argue that “use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offence and leave those fans liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy football banning order.”
In which case, losing my Spurs season ticket will be the least of it. I’ll be editing the JC from a prison cell.
Does Mr Horne have nothing better to do with his time? (After Tuesday night’s England performance, I don’t think you need me to answer that.)
Not that he’s alone. The CST, an organisation for which I usually have the utmost respect, has jumped on the Yid bandwagon, too, saying it “has no place in football grounds or anywhere else.”
What is it with Jewish organisations which seem to go out of their way to find offense for the sake of it? We’ve seen another this week over Brian May’s description of the badger cull as “a genocide.”
Clearly the man is an idiot. But that will be obvious to almost everyone who hears the comment. It doesn’t need the local shuls and communal representatives jumping up and down.
There are real problems — Islamist antisemitism and some interfaith work which ends up offering succour to antisemites — that do need to be dealt with. Yet when it comes to confronting these large-scale issues, our representative bodies run a mile.
Instead, we are directed to confront the non-issue of Spurs fans who use the word Yid.
When I sing “Jermain Defoe, he’s a Yiddo,” I am not insulting him. I’m not suggesting he drinks the blood of the firstborn.
I — and the thousand of Jews who sing the same chant at White Hart Lane every time he scores — am doing the exact opposite. I am celebrating him. I am exalting in his contribution to The Jewish Team.
Because that’s the real issue here. Not all north London Jews support Spurs (I believe there’s an upstart team nearby). And not all Spurs fans are Jewish. But a significant proportion are. And we — again, not all of us, but a significant proportion – like to call ourselves the Yid Army, and we like to call our players Yiddos.
It’s a reclamation of language. That means it’s just not an insult when we say it, any more than when a gay man calls himself a queer.
This isn’t an issue of linguistic subtlety. When a skinhead waving a swastika spits “Yiddo” at a passing Jew, it’s racist. As it is when Chelsea fans hiss at Spurs fans, mocking the gas chambers — and which Chelsea FC simply ignores.
But is it really that difficult to work out that when a group of Jews (and non-Jews) at White Hart Lane call a Spurs player a Yiddo, then it’s a term of endearment? Or are the FA and their fellow travellers so cloth-eared?
This is the warped logic behind the anti-Yid posturing. Thousands of Jews chant “Yiddo” at White Hart Lane. In response, the goons at the FA — maybe they’re Gooners, which would explain a lot – are proposing to deal with this non-existent antisemitism through the mass criminalisation of Jews.