On August 26 this year, the soccer club Brugge in Bruges, Belgium, hosted the Brussels club Anderlecht in a major league match that Brugge won 2-1. After the match, according to a Belgian news outlet La Derniere Heure report this week, the host club’s fans sang the following lyrics in the stadium:
“My father was part of a commando / my mother was SS / and together they burned Jews / because the Jews burn the best.”
This is not the first time the Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging, commonly referred to as just Club Brugge, has been singled out for anti-Semitic and racist songs. When Francis N’Ganga, a Congolese player who plays for Charleroi in the Belgian Pro League, came to town, the fans booed him with the clever taunt, “Al wie niet springt is een Jood” (Anyone who doesn’t jump is a Jew).
The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB) condemned the racist-anti-Semitic jeering of N’Ganga, and called on Belgian soccer clubs to forbid the singing of anti-Semitic songs in their stadiums.
Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism (LBCA), noted that the phenomenon is not new and is growing. “Someone has to take responsibility, be it at the level of the club, or the justice system,” he told La Derniere Heure.
Rubinfeld accused the club’s management of laxity in leadership. “The club management may not want to deal with this matter, knowing that it will create problems, and so everyone is waiting for someone else to make a move, but no one is acting.”
Rubinfeld pointed out that the fans can easily be identified in the scandalous video. “It would take law enforcement agencies to make things happen, it’s their duty, we should be able to punish these fans, and I believe punishing one fan could educate 100,” Rubinfeld said.
Club Brugge issued a response to the published video, saying, “Today a video dating from August 26, 2018 appeared an online in which anti-Semitic chants were uttered. This was done by a small group during the Club Brugge – Anderlecht match, which expressed these foul remarks. A few days after the match, Club Brugge was notified of these occurrences by its own fans and ushers, and the club managed to identify and ban these people. The club strongly condemns such actions and intends to distance itself from them in such a way that such behavior become unfit at Club Brugge.”