Violent and Destructive Behavior by Beitar Jerusalem Fans “Appalling and Unacceptable,” ADL Says

Calls for Israeli Political and Sports Leaders to Develop and Enforce Guidelines for Fan Behavior

New York, NY, July 17, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the violent and destructive behavior by fans of the Israeli professional football club Beitar Jerusalem at a game in Belgium in which its supporters threw bombs, flares, firecrackers and smoke onto the field.

At a Europa League qualifying game against Sporting Charleroi on July 16, the opposing team’s goalie was struck with a hard object. The club’s fans also raised a “Kahane is Alive” banner, which celebrates an American-Israeli politician who was banned from running for office in the Israeli political system due to his racist policies.

ADL called for increased, vigorous, and concerted efforts by Israel’s political and sports leadership to hold clubs and fans accountable for wild and racist actions.

“There is a long record of violent and racist behavior associated with Beitar Jerusalem fans in Israel, and now unfortunately, that appalling and unacceptable behavior was on view in Belgium and to the world,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “While some have said that fans were responding to anti-Semitic chants by the opposing side, there is simply no justification for this type of violent and destructive behavior. It is clear these Beitar supporters planned this action by bringing in the flares and firecrackers – and the pro-Kahane sign – into the stadium.”

Mr. Foxman added, “We appreciate that Israeli government leaders across the political spectrum have joined Israel soccer fans in condemning the behavior of the Beitar supporters.  Now is the time for the Sports Ministry and Israel’s soccer leadership to develop and enforce vigorous guidelines for fan behavior.”

 

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.