Celtic FC has reportedly refused to state whether the antisemitism investigation that the club promised to undertake in January has begun or not.
The club promised an investigation to Scottish Jewish leaders after Celtic fans unleashed a torrent of abuse at the club’s Israeli midfielder after a loss to rival Rangers.
Nir Bitton was called a “dirty Jew bastard” and a “Zionist rat” on social media after receiving a red card in the match. His wife also revealed that she has been subjected to abuse, including calls for her and her husband to be “hanged”. One post said: “Here you ya cow, you and yer husband deserve tae be hung on the streets. F**k you and yer wains.”
Their two children have also reportedly had abuse directed at them as well.
This is not the first time that Mr Bitton has disclosed the abuse he suffers from some of the club’s fans; in 2016 the police launched an investigation after a Celtic fan said that Mr Bitton should be gassed.
It is also not Celtic’s first brush with controversy over Jews or Israel, having been sanctioned by UEFA in the past over persistent problems. In the Scottish FA Cup final in 2016, for example, fans displayed a banner reading “end Zionism”. A Jewish former director of the club was also subjected to abuse by fans, including “Get this Ashkenazi c*** out of OUR club and take that other fake jew p**** Bitton with him [sic]”, and “He’s a Jew what do you expect”.
At the time, a spokesperson for Celtic FC said that it has passed its fans’ “vile” comments to Police Scotland and called for those responsible to be identified, adding that “all appropriate action should be taken”. The spokesperson added that “those responsible for such vile comments do not represent Celtic or Celtic supporters. They are faceless and nameless.”
However, there have reportedly been no confirmations as to whether such action has been taken yet.
Jordan Allison, Campaign Manager for Show Racism the Red Card said: “The problem we have in Scottish football is that these incidents are not being documented enough. The victims don’t feel confident enough to report it to police or stewards. In turn, the stewards are not trained in how to record it as a form of racism. There’s far more work to be done. We are so far behind in Scotland that the authorities are not at the stage yet where they can do something about it.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently produced an Instagram post detailing recent incidents of antisemitism in football.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a new weekly podcast. New episodes of Podcast Against Antisemitism are available every Thursday and can be streamed here or downloaded wherever you get your podcasts.