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Liverpool FC Rosh Hashanah tweet prompts torrent of hate

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A Rosh Hashanah tweet from Liverpool Football Club was removed after it received a barrage of antisemitic abuse online.

The club tweeted on Thursday night: “Liverpool FC would like to wish all our Jewish supporters around the world a happy new year. #RoshHashanah.”

However, the post prompted a torrent of offensive replies, many referencing Hitler, and a few hours later the tweet was removed by the club, along with the comments.

A Liverpool spokesperson said: “Due to a number of offensive comments that were attached to a tweet on the official LFC twitter account, the tweet and comments have since been removed from the account.”

Kick It Out, Football’s inclusion and equality organisation, received a number of complaints and contacted Liverpool. However, the football club acted independently in removing the messages.

A spokesperson for Kick It Out told the Guardian: “It is encouraging that a football club recognises these holidays and religious landmarks – Liverpool did the same for Ramadan – but extremely sad when a club does that in a proactive manner and gets these responses.

“Premier League clubs appeal to supporters around the world and it would have been nice for Liverpool’s Jewish supporters to see this message from their club, that’s the bigger issue. It should be welcomed that clubs are doing this is in a proactive manner.”

Kick It Out has reported the hate speech to True Vision, the online reporting facility run by the British police.

The Board of Deputies backed the club's action.

A spokesman said: "Liverpool FC acted correctly in removing the antisemitic material posted on its social media site. It is profoundly sad and disturbing that racists post abusive material in response to the club’s goodwill message for Rosh Hashanah."

The Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham H Foxman also praised the club’s quick response.

“Liverpool Football Club should be commended for acting quickly to take down the offensive comments and for their statement reiterating the team’s commitment to religious pluralism and condemning the antisemitic reactions,” he said.

“The outpouring of antisemitic comments in response to LFC’s message to its Jewish fans is another deeply disturbing manifestation of the depth of anti-Jewish sentiment which has been proliferating around the globe. Leaders in every segment of society should unequivocally condemn antisemitic and other expressions of hate each and every time they appear.”

The Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism,regretted that the club had decided to remove its Rosh Hashanah message along with the abusive tweets.

Communications director Mark Gardner said: "CST wishes that only the antisemitic tweets had been removed, rather than the entire Rosh Hashanah thread that Liverpool FC had so positively begun. The saddest and most important thing here is that a Jewish New Year greeting should have met such a wide antisemitic reaction.”

Liverpool prides itself on its global appeal and often tweets messages commemorating religious festivals. The official club Twitter feed has 3.24 million followers.

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