British football fans arrested for allegedly harassing Orthodox Jew on plane


(JTA) – British police have arrested two men for allegedly chanting offensive football-themed limericks at an Orthodox Jewish passenger on a flight on November 4.

The incident was filmed on a Ryanair flight between the UK and Belgium last week. Many passengers were on their way to a football match between the West Ham team and Genk, a Belgian team.

As the Orthodox passenger passed them on the plane, several men started singing about the Tottenham Hotspurs, a rival England football team that some football fans believe is supported by many Jews. The Hotspurs did not play in Belgium last week.

“Running around Tottenham with our boobies hanging out, singing I’ve got the foreskin, right?” the men sang as the Orthodox passenger walked down the aisle.

In a statement, the West Ham team said they were “appalled” by the incident and were working with police to identify the fans filmed. Police arrested a man they suspect of inciting racist hatred on Thursday and another Friday. West Ham has banned two fans for life from its stadium following the incident, according to the Jewish News in London.

The incident came just days after Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London sentenced a Chelsea football supporter to eight weeks in prison for inciting the posting of anti-Semitic posts on social media intended to Spurs fans. Nathan Blagg, 21, posted a photo of Auschwitz with the words: “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz. Blagg said he did not want to insult Jews and that the messages were “jokes among friends.”

In another incident last week, FIFA, the world football federation, fined its Scottish affiliate after fans mocked the Israeli anthem played for the Israeli team that took part in the match qualifier for the FIFA World Cup in Hampden Park, Glasgow last month. FIFA has fined the Scottish Football Association nearly $ 11,000 for this violation of the FIFA code, which prohibits expressions of disrespect for the flag or anthem of any country.

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