Writer and comedian David Baddiel has criticised David Cameron for saying use of the word Yid by some football fans is not hate speech.
In an exclusive interview with the JC, the Prime Minister said that supporters of Tottenham Hotspur, who refer to themselves as Yiddos in terrace chants, should not face criminal charges.
“Hate speech should be prosecuted, but only when it’s motivated by hate,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s view contradicted guidance from the Football Association that the word was offensive and its use could amount to a criminal offence. Both the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust backed the FA.
Writing in the Guardian, Mr Baddiel, a Chelsea fan, said Yid was a race-hate word, whenever it was used.
“Any campaign aimed at stopping the chanting of antisemitic abuse at football matches can't then say: ‘But of course it's OK for this one set of fans because they mean it nicely.’ It's simply not workable,” he wrote.
He pointed out that “Yid” had been chanted by Oswald Mosely’s antisemitic Blackshirts.
The word was just as unacceptable as offensive epithets used to denigrate other ethnic groups, he believed.
“If it had been the N-word or the P-word, it wouldn't have got past David Cameron's lips,” he wrote.
Three years ago, Mr Baddiel, with his brother Ivor, made a short film called The Y-Word, which challenged the acceptability of the chanting of the word Yid at football grounds in London.
A spokesman for Spurs said the club had been engaging with its fans on the issue after a number of incidents last season in which they had been subjected to antisemitic abuse by opposition supporters.
Following the release of the guidance from the FA, the club would be consulting more widely, he said.