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.