Haifa fans fall victim to anti-Semitic abuse at Berlin Olympiastadion
Haifa supporters attend a Group E Europa Conference League soccer match between FC Union Berlin and Maccabi Haifa FC.
The first football match involving an Israeli team at the stadium built for the 1936 Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany was marred by anti-Semitic abuse targeting visiting supporters on Thursday.
Maccabi Haifa’s trip to the Olympiastadion Berlin for their Europa League match against Union Berlin ended in a 3-0 defeat by the visitors in front of 23,324 supporters. Almost 1,000 were supporters of the Maccabi.
The youth wing of the local German-Israeli society said on Twitter that it had been targeted by some supporters of the home team as they attended the match in a mixed bloc.
The Junges Forum Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft said they threw beer at them and were called “Jews (expletives)” among other slurs, and that a Union fan attempted to torching an Israeli flag taken from a partisan until he was arrested by the civil justice system. police.
“There were also Union fans who spoke out against this behavior. We moved to Maccabi Block to be on the safe side, ”the company said.
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The Fare Network, which combats discrimination in football, said on Friday that “eyewitnesses were shocked at the levels of anti-Semitism” during the match, and it showed photos of a Union supporter who, he said, praised the Nazis to visiting fans “and abused those who called him out.
Another man behind in one of the images can also be seen giving a Nazi salute, which is done by extending the right arm upwards with the palm flattened. It’s illegal in Germany and punishable by jail time.
The Olympiastadion is typically used by Union rival Hertha Berlin, but it was taken over by the Union for European competition this season because its stadium in the eastern district of Köpenick does not have enough seating for meet UEFA’s requirements.
The Union said ahead of the match that it was welcoming staff from the Israeli embassy, representatives from the House of One Judeo-Christian-Islamic dialogue project, athletes from the local sports club Makkabi Berlin and others for the match.
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“We know that this match is of very particular importance beyond the sporting side for our guests in Haifa and for the Jewish community in Berlin,” said Union President Dirk Zingler.
Maccabi Haifa made no mention of the post-game abusive incidents.
“Thank you for the great hospitality. It was an exciting game in front of you and our fans, and also in this stadium, which makes sense, “the club said on Twitter.” Thank you, and until we meet again in Israel. “
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Union Berlin fan blog Textilvergehen said the words “disgusting” and “absolutely shameful” were not adequate to describe the abuse.
The youth wing of local German-Israeli society expressed gratitude on Friday for the support it received from the majority of fans.
“Thank you for the wave of online solidarity and to the Union supporters who showed their solidarity with us in the stadium!” the group said on Twitter. “The majority of Unioners greeted the Maccabi in a friendly manner and celebrated football together.”