Amsterdam?So you’re at a soccer (or football) stadium watching a game. Suddenly the fans of one team unfurl a giant flag of Israel and you note that many of them are sporting Stars of David. Where might this be at? Jerusalem? Haifa? Tel Aviv? No. This is happening in Amsterdam, at a game of Dutch soccer superstars, Ajax. Ajax is one of the Netherlands leading soccer teams, having won 27 national championships and 25 international tournaments.

Somewhere along the line, probably in the 60s when a few Ajax players were Jewish, they acquired the nickname the Ajax Jews. Their fans wear what they call Ajax stars (Magen Davids), they wave Israeli flags and are known to chant “Jews, Jews” during soccer games. The opposing side fans however, reply with chants that sound blood curdlingly anti-Semitic. For instance, this chant by Feyenoord fans is typical:

Ssssssssssssssssssssssssss… (the hissing sound of gas)
We’re hunting the Jews!
There is the Ajax train to Auschwitz!
Sieg! Sieg! Sieg! (German for ‘victory’, yelled while performing the Hitler’s Salute)

It seems to be all in good, albeit really wierd Dutch fun. See, few of Ajax’s oponnents are actually anti-Semitic, and in the good Calvinist tradition of the Dutch, intent is what matters, not actions or words. However, the management of Ajax seem to have had enough of their association with the chosen people and the anti-Semitic chants.

Club chairman John Jaakke stated:

Ajax is being presented as a Jewish club and some of our supporters have taken to calling themselves Jews as an honorary nickname … I want to state for the record that Ajax wants to shed this image and will do what is necessary to achieve this. I am sure our supporters have no anti-Semitic feelings … However, in a tense society such as we live in today, it can stir such feelings in others

The Dutch are so strange.

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

16 Comments

  • Ain’t just the Dutch. Fans of (English premier league team) Tottenham Hotspur are called “Yiddos” because so many of the fans are Jewish.

    Hell even student’s of UCT (my alma mater) are still called “Ikeys” because of the large proportion of Jewish students there in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The rugby team is specifically called the Ikey Tigers.

  • Too bad the last line in this article has to be ‘the Dutch are so strange’
    I am dutch and believe me when I say that the dutch jewish community is divided over this initiative.
    Besides the article doesn’t include all details on how Ajax got their name as being a ‘jewish’ team, for one it surely didn’t start in the sixties….it’s too bad people start to judge the book by it’s cover

  • Hey Dutchgirl. I didn’t mean to disparage the fine, fine people of Holland. 2 of the coolest guys I know are Dutch (Shout out to Philip Van P. and Arnold B. wherever the hell you guys are at) and you make Ottawa bloom every year with all those beautiful tulips. As for the whole Ajax thing, it’s kind of funny and I read like a whole mess of articles before posting that story. If you have better info on how Ajax got to be the Jewish team, do let me know. My understanding is that Ajax opponents tried to disparage the team by calling them Jews and the Ajax fans then adopted the designation as a badge of pride.

    So to recap, Ajax seems like a very cool team, the Netheralnds is an awesome country, the Dutch are an interesting people, Dutch Jews rock and when I say something is strange, that means it’s a good thing because I myself am so darn friggin strange, as anyone who knows me would attest. So am I forgiven Dutch girl? By the way, I know Amsterdam has plenty of Jews, but what about the Hague? Just curious.

  • Well I believe the rise of anti semitism is obvious at all soccar games. If there are jews involved there will be anti semitism.. The white societies of the western world will not stay dorment for to long, heck it has been 60 years of oppression I gaurantee you all that we are awakening slowly but surely. Hate to bust your perfect world bubble but…. POP! It has begun.

  • I knew that they had Native Americans as mascots in sports (which I think is offensive) but I had no idea that people in Holland made mascots out of our people.
    I don’t understand why people think it’s funny to mock/represent a group of people who were almost wiped out?
    (I’m talking about both Native Americans and Jews.)

  • Hey, I was just reading all this, cause I have to right a paper about ‘dutch football’.
    And first of all, The person who started Ajax was jewish, that’s why people call it the ‘jewclub’. I know that, because I moved to Canada just 2 months ago, and have lived 17 years in Holland.. And am Jewish (and damn proud of it! ;).. but besides that, I hope everyone now knows why Ajax is a ‘jewish’ club!

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