Arsenal announces new antisemitism plan after banning fans for Jew-hate

The London club is launching a new affiliate called 'Jewish Gooners'


LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: General view outside the stadium prior to the FA Women's Super League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on November 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Arsenal has given the green light to a new affiliate called Jewish Gooners, partly in response to antisemitism among fans.

The announcement comes as the club said it was banning five members for three years over incidents involving Jew-hate that took place online or inside the Emirates Stadium.

The exclusions come on top of 31 other exclusions for abusive and discriminatory behaviour including death threats, homophobia, ableism and other forms of racism.

The JC can also reveal that Arsenal is setting up an affiliate known as the Jewish Gooners.

The aim of the group will be to both prevent antisemitism and to help foster a more “inclusive” environment for Jews. It follows the successful introduction of a Gay Gooners group.

Jewish Arsenal fans have been in talks with the club for more than two years about setting up a group – partly to ensure that Jewish fans who keep Shabbat would be able to give their tickets to friends.

Although the club has thousands of Jewish fans, its main rival, Tottenham, is known as the “Jewish Club” with supporters identifying as the “Y*d army”. As a result, anti-Tottenham songs and chants by Arsenal fans have been known to tip over into antisemitism.

Jewish fans also complained to the club after some contributors to Arsenal fan groups posted anti-Jewish jokes and even Holocaust denial.

Plans to set up the Jewish Gooners group were given new momentum after Jewish Arsenal fan Katie Price was subjected to horrific antisemitic abuse at the Arsenal favourite the Cally Pub in January.

The comedian was called a “dirty f***ing y*d” as she watched an Arsenal vs Tottenham game in the pub. When she complained, she was removed from the pub as Arsenal fans chanted “Off you go” and “Y*ddo go home”.

Following the incident, groups of Jewish Arsenal supporters banded together to demand the club did more to educate its fans about antisemitism. Within a few days, Arsenal agreed to setting up the Jewish Gooners group. Both the CST and antisemitism czar Lord John Mann are already involved in the group, which aims to celebrate as well as educate.

Jewish Gooners will be officially launched with a party at the Emirates Stadium on May 14 after the team’s home game against Brighton.

“We’re very pleased to welcome the Jewish Gooners supporters’ club to the Arsenal family,” says Mark Brindle, Arsenal’s Supporter Liaison Officer. “We’ve already worked together on a number of initiatives and we’re looking forward to building on this in the future. Their counsel and support helps our ongoing drive against abuse and discrimination and we’ll work collaboratively, as we do with all our supporters’ clubs around the world, to celebrate and champion our diverse communities with the aim of ensuring everyone feels welcome at Arsenal.”

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