Spurs fans who use the word “Yid” in terrace chants should not be prosecuted — as long as they are not motivated by hate, according to David Cameron.
The Prime Minister reignited the row over the use of the word when he made clear his view, which contradicts the Football Association and Jewish groups who have been insisting it is always offensive.
Many Jewish and non-Jewish Tottenham fans refer to themselves as the “Yid army” and to players as “Yiddos”.
The FA issued new guidance last week which suggested that fans using the term could be liable to criminal charges.
The FA said that the word “is likely to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer” and is “inappropriate in a football setting”.
It went on: “Use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offence, and leave those fans liable to prosecution and potentially a lengthy football banning order.”
Both the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust said they backed the FA’s statement.
But when asked by the JC if Spurs fans who call themselves Yids should be prosecuted, Mr Cameron said: “You have to think of the mens rea. There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult.
“You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted — but only when it’s motivated by hate.”
Mr Cameron also said that he hoped to visit Israel before the next election in 2015, describing it as “a gap in my Prime Ministership that I haven’t been and I very much hope to fill it”.
He said he particularly wanted to go so that he could take his wife, Samantha, who has never been to Israel: “That view of the Mount of Olives is a reminder of what the Abrahamic faiths have in common.”