EXCLUSIVE: Celtic refuse to confirm promised investigation into antisemitic abuse

Israeli player Nir Bitton was subject to antisemitic abuse on social media


Celtic Football Club has failed to confirm if it has started the inquiry into the antisemitic abuse of its Israeli player Nir Bitton, which it promised Scottish Jewish leaders in January.

The club, which describes itself as “open to all”, pledged to investigate after Israeli midfielder Bitton was branded a “dirty Jew b***** d” and a “Zionist rat” on social media, following the team’s defeat to rivals Rangers. 

The club has so far provided no public updates about the long-awaited inquiry and did not respond when contacted by the JC. 

Last month, Fifa fined the Scottish FA £8,000 after Israel’s national anthem was booed by Scotland fans ahead of a World Cup qualifier in October. 

 A series of such incidents led a prominent anti-racism charity to warn that such abuse is becoming normalised north of the border, where Jews make up just 0.1 per cent of the population. 

Jordan Allison, campaign manager for Show Racism the Red Card, believes Scottish clubs have not done enough to put anti-racism measures in place at stadiums, allowing antisemitism to go unchecked. 

 “The problem we have in Scottish football is that these incidents are not being documented enough,” he said. 

“The victims don’t feel confident enough to report it to police or stewards.  In turn, the stewards are not trained in how to record it as a form of racism. There’s far more work to be done.  We are so far behind in Scotland that the authorities are not at the stage yet where they can do something about it.” 

Fifa also sanctioned the Scottish national team over an “inappropriate” emblem, believed to be a Palestinian flag, waved at the international match in Glasgow’s Hampden Park. 

Meanwhile, the JC has learned that one Scotland fan took to Facebook ahead of the Israel game to ask fellow supporters: “Is it OK to sing ‘We Hate England More Than Jews?’”

It has also emerged that in October last year, following the Euro 2020 match between the two nations, a convoy of vehicles drove past Giffnock synagogue, just three miles from Hampden, with passengers leaning out of the windows, waving the Palestine flag at residents.

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