Ugly and unacceptable, but are the fans anti-Semitic?


“Kyiv Dynamo’s” final match before the winter break has been clouded by uncivilized behaviour from fans. There is open animosity between fans of “Kyiv Dynamo” and Odessa’s “Chernomorets” football teams.

The Dynamo fans call the fans from Odessa by a word for Jew which is generally considered insulting.  The Odessa fans, in turn, call the Kyiv fans “khokhly”, a term for Ukrainians which is also insulting. 

It should be mentioned however that some of the other terms used to describe football fans from different places are insulting, but not linked to ethnic origin.  Donetsk fans are known as “kroty” [moles], the Zaporizhyan fans – “bomzhy” – an offensive, however reasonably common term for down-and-outs, while fans from Dnipropetrovsk are called by a word which suggests they fart a lot.  It can be seen that the terms, while hardly desirable, do not necessarily indicate either a fixation with ethnic origin or xenophobia per se.

As the newspaper article points out, while these terms are bandied about among fans and on their web forums, they can be endured.

What is not, however, to be tolerated is the public display of offensive banners.  The Dynamo fans unfortunately “greeted” their Chernomorets rivals with an anti-Semitic version of the Chernomorets club emblem. 

The football audience was not large however the chant from the two-thousand strong contingent of Kyiv fans was broadcast on television.  The fans, it should be mentioned, bellowed their chant “You are Jews” [using the more offensive term] and also “mentioned” the dark-skinned legionaries in Chernomorets.

Dynamo will probably get off reasonably lightly for such behaviour from their fans, with a fine of a few thousand dollars. More serious sanctions have yet to be applied in Ukrainian football. However in other countries and in the international arena you can face disqualification and fines of a hundred thousand Euros.

The fans themselves reject any accusations of anti-Semitism, stressing that they are simply using their slang. They claim that the Odessa fans use the same term about themselves, even in a song.

Based on information at:

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