Chelsea and Arsenal Jewish fan groups condemn football's 'silence'

Chelsea and Arsenal Jewish fan groups condemn football’s ‘silence’ on the crisis between Israel and Palestine… as they call Hamas attacks ‘one of the worst atrocities in the West since the Holocaust’

  • Chelsea and Arsenal Jewish fan groups released statements on social media
  • They condemned football leaders for their silence on the ongoing conflict 
  • In Israel, the death toll from Saturday’s horrific assault rose to 1,200 

Chelsea and Arsenal’s Jewish supporter groups have described Hamas’s attacks on the ‘worst atrocity in the West since the Holocaust’ as they condemned football’s silence over the deadly violence.

Hamas terrorists launched rocket strikes on Israel and invaded parts of the country on Saturday, killing civilians and kidnapping others with swift retaliation later following.

In Israel, the death toll from Saturday’s assault rose to 1,200 – making it the deadliest attack in the country’s 75-year history, while Gaza officials reported more than 900 people killed as Israel pounded the territory with air strikes.

There has been silence among the football community despite the attacks, with FIFA and their president Gianni Infantino yet to issue a statement.

UEFA meanwhile postponed all matches due to take place in Israel over the next fortnight – including their Euro 2024 qualifiers – in a statement that referenced the current security situation’, but not the terrorist attacks and casualties on both sides.

Arsenal and Chelsea Jewish Supporters’ groups have condemned football’s silence over Hamas’s attacks on Israel (FIFA president Gianni Infantino pictured) 

 Hamas terrorists launching rocket strikes on Israel and invading parts of the country

Jewish fan groups from Arsenal and Chelsea have now hit out at football authorities in scathing statements published on X, formerly Twitter.

Jewish Gooners posted a lengthy statement in which they wrote: ‘Five days after 1,200 Jews were killed in possibly the worst terrorist atrocity perpetrated in the West since the Holocaust, there has still not been a single word from the world of football.

‘Not from the authorities, not from the clubs, not from the overwhelming majority of players, not from the broadcasters and not from the pundits – many of whom have previously gone to great lengths to defend the right to use their platforms to promote causes they care about.

‘The reports have suggested that the football authorities are assessing how to respond to this ‘complicated’ or ‘complex’ situation. Seemingly tying themselves in knots trying to work out which sponsor or broadcast partner they might offend by marking this atrocity.

‘It’s not complicated. It’s not complex. The murder, rape, abduction, decapitation of innocent men, women and children needs no context. It’s not necessary, at this moment to find a balance or another side. 

‘By failing to even acknowledge what has occurred, the football world has demonstrated one thing loud and clear. That Jewish and Israeli lives and deaths are not equal to those of others. 

‘That Jewish fans and the people of Israel are not part of this so-called family. 

‘In the grand scheme of things, a minute silence before a football match or a stadium washed in blue and white, is irrelevant. 

‘Whatever happens now and whatever politically sensitive solution is achieved in football’s corridor of power, Jewish and Israeli football fans know that when it really mattered. We were not supported.’

Arsenal defender Oleksandr Zinchenko demonstrated his unity with Israel on his Instagram story, showing the Star of David – a religious symbol recognised by the Jewish community which is Israel’s main religion – with a message reading: ‘I stand with Israel.’

However, his post opened the floodgates for anonymous abusers to target Zinchenko with outrageous retorts that show the dark side of social media.

Zinchenko as a result decided to restrict his Instagram account.  

His team-mate Mohamed Elneny meanwhile appeared to show his support for Palestine by changing his profile picture on Instagram to their flag.  

Chelsea Jewish Supporters Group posted a similar statement to that of Jewish Gooners, writing: ‘Over the past few days, over 1,200 innocent people have been murdered, raped and kidnapped – one of the most shocking atrocities to happen in the West since the holocaust.

‘We mourn the innocent victims and their families, and we wholeheartedly and strongly condemn both the terrorism from Hamas, and the unfortunate rise in antisemitism we’ve seen both in the UK and around the world.

‘We are disappointed with the silence within the wider football community and urge football leaders to speak out against terrorism and hatred. Now, and always, we stand with Israel.’

They are not the only club where their Jewish fan groups have posted statements, with Watford FC Jewish Supporters Group also calling on the football community to ‘condemn Hamas’. 

UEFA referenced the ‘current security situation’ in a statement but not the terrorist attacks and casualties on both sides

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who has 5.4 million followers on Instagram, appears to have shown his support for Palestine days after Oleksandr Zinchenko said he ‘stood with Israel’

It comes amid mounting pressure on the FA to illuminate Wembley in the colours of the Israel flag during England’s friendly against Australia on Friday.

The Israeli flag was projected onto 10 Downing Street and City Hall in London following government guidance on Sunday night in tribute to the hundreds of people killed by Hamas’ terror attacks over the weekend.

The FA have set a precedent of illuminating the national flag of countries who have suffered from terrorist attacks in recent years, and have a decision to make over whether to follow suit in England’s games against Australia and Italy over the next week.

Former FA chairman David Bernstein has criticised the organisation as he said he was ‘hurt but not surprised’ by the body’s response to the terror attacks in Israel.

Bernstein, who led the FA between 2011 and 2013, condemned the slow response.

‘I am shocked, hurt, but not totally surprised that the Football Association has not yet had time to consider its reaction to the murder of nearly 1,000 people,’ he told The Telegraph.

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