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Ajax sued for 'pro-Jewish' chants

    The football team Ajax and the mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan are being sued for racism because the Dutch team's fans sing pro-Jewish chants.

    The case being brought by BAN, the Dutch campaign against antisemitism in football, will be heard in the Amsterdam District Court on October 17. BAN charges that Ajax has no Jewish roots and few Jewish fans, and chants such as "We are the super-Jews" encourage race-hate and are in themselves racist acts.

    The trial next month is a result of a ruling in The Hague District Court in August when Dutch outfit ADO Den Hague was instructed to stop racist chanting by its fans at matches. The court was petitioned by BAN following a match in March when ADO hosted Ajax and the home fans continually sang chants such as: "Hamas Hamas Jews to the gas". ADO players were also filmed in a nightclub singing: "We're going out to hunt Jews."

    The judge rejected ADO's argument that the chants were not antisemitic but directed against Ajax fans who call themselves Jews. He ordered ADO matches to be stopped in future by referees if such chants recur.

    The judge also said that the behaviour of Ajax fans was causing antisemitism and, in the wake of his comments, both Ajax and the mayor of Amsterdam pledged to stop the pro-Jewish chants of Ajax fans. It is on the basis of this pledge and the judge's comments in The Hague that BAN is pursuing its suit in Amsterdam next month.

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