Britain’s Manchester United soccer club, which has a large Jewish following, has sent an e-mail apology to its fans for an “unintended” offense from a graphic of a Swastika-style image under the headline “New Order,” a phrase identified with Hitler.
The graphic included the letters MUFC, Manchester United Football Club.
The club claimed that the term “New Order” related to the club’s band that has the same name, but it could not explain why the design of the graphic was in the form of a swastika.
“While the headline was intended to reference the band of the same name, it has been pointed out that the graphic had design similarities to a swastika which, combined with other connotations of the phrase ‘new order’, has caused offense which was entirely unintended,” according to a statement from Manchester United.
Manchester United’s media director David Sternberg tweeted to angry supporters, “The creative is completely inappropriate; we apologize unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action.”
Anti-Semitism is not new in British soccer. The Tottenham soccer team, largely backed by Jewish money, has a relatively large Jewish following and has been a favorite target of anti-Semites, complete with Nazi salutes by opposing team fans, who also like to make hissing noises to sound like the gas chambers.
The term “yid” has been used so much that Tottenham’s own Jewish following began using the term as badge of honor, sparking a debate over a proposal that anyone should be arrested for shouting the word “Yid” from the stands.
The intellectual level of the anti-Semitic hobby of British soccer fans can be measured by last year’s statement by Brian Laws, the manager of the Scunthorpe United club, who described his team’s loss on the field “as bad as the Holocaust.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has denounced the anti-Semitism, saying that it “has no place in football or society in general.” It added, “For football fans to use Holocaust imagery and chants glorifying Adolf Hitler is grossly offensive to the Jewish community and is a stain upon the character of British football.”
The Board also has condemned the use of the word “Yid,” whether by Jewish or non-Jewish Tottenham fans.