By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
It is a basic rule of civilized society. When thugs and football hooligans shout anti-Semitic epithets it is our duty to condemn the slurs as base and unacceptable.
In any sport, even in soccer matches, racism is totally unacceptable.
Poland is no exception. In fact, Poland has a set of laws prohibiting racism. Those laws include a prohibition against the dissemination of racial slurs. So why then have Poland and Polish official prosecutors decided to justify the racism in their midst?
When the home team in Poznan, Poland, started shouting: "Go Jews, Get out, Go to Auschwitz" the local prosecutor determined that those shouts, that sentiment, was not an anti-Semitic slur.
Even when the slogans continued with the added verse: "send you to the gas chamber," the prosecutor did not think that it was racist.
His rationale was baffling. The prosecutor reasoned that the shouts were levied against the other team Widzew, Lodz and that there were no Jews on the other teams or, for that matter, anywhere in the Stadium.
This incident would not be so noteworthy if were an isolated occurrence. It is not.
In the city of Lublin, the home of Tomasz Pietrasiewicz was recently vandalized. Bricks with swastikas were thrown threw his windows.
He is not Jewish but he is deeply involved with Jews and publicly advocates for and teaches about the rich Jewish history of Lublin.
Here, too, the local prosecutor chose not to file racist charges against the hoodlums because Pietrasiewicz is not a Jew.
And in Bialystok people spreading leaflets with swastikas were not prosecuted. To add insult to injury, the prosecutor added that the swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol - not just the sign of the Nazis.
If this were not so sad, it would be funny. Do intelligent people actually believe that anti-Semitism exists only in the presence of Jews? Do they really believe that in the world today anybody sees any other realistic symbolism for the swastika other than Nazism? The Nazis themselves were unaware of the Hindu derivation.
Football hooligans must be held accountable. The clubs know that and they banish teams that violate the rules. If the prosecution does not get it then the home team should take a stand.
Anti-Semitism cannot be ignored. No form of racism should go unpunished.
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