Ajax want further deliberation with fans about 'Jewish' chants

Recently, Ajax announced that the club wants to get rid of the chanting of the word 'Jews' by Ajax supporters, of related chants and of the use of symbols such as the star of David and the flag of Israel by Ajax fans. The subject has received attention by the national and international media. Ajax wish to clarify their point of view through this article.

The paradox that we are a so-called Jewish club, but that in most cases Jewish people find it difficult to attend our home matches, let alone away matches, because of the very hurtful reactions, has to be put to a halt.

Ajax are sometimes billed as a Jewish club. As a result, a part of the Ajax supporters use the term ‘Jews’ as a rallying cry. Ajax wish to make clear, that the club knows that their own supporters harbor no anti-Semitic feelings or thoughts when chanting the word ‘Jews’. Also Ajax would like, hopefully redundantly, to stress that the desire to halt the use of the rallying cry ‘Jews’ has no anti-Semitic reason. The rallying cry ‘Jews’ has proven to evoke anti-Semitic reactions. Especially in a society with today’s tensions. After all, ‘Jews’ has a different social and historical charge than for instance the ‘Super farmers’.

When there is talk of hurtful chants, people mostly think of hurtful to opposing players of supporters. In this case however, a reaction to rallying cry hurts a big part of our own supporters, who do not subscribe to the rallying cry ‘Jews’. Many people, not necessarily Jewish, take offence with this situation and the excesses that result from it.

As a typical Amsterdam club, Ajax historically have ties to the Jewish community. Like many other clubs in our capital Ajax have and have had Jewish footballers, officials, volunteers and supporters. And Ajax are proud of that. Just as we are proud of all our members, fans and volunteers, and of the importance of Ajax for the Amsterdam community as a whole.

We realize that this is not an easy subject. Ajax also realize that not using the rallying cry by our hard-core supporters also evokes emotions. After all, it concerns a part of their identity and their commitment to the club. It would be too easy to simply ignore those feelings. Yet we appeal to our supporters to keep an open mind about this policy and think along with us.

To reach this objective, Ajax will soon open the discussion with a group of representative Ajax aficionados.