Antisemitism in Football
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Antisemitism in Football
29th November 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Antisemitism is a blight across the European continent. For decades, anti-Semitic chants have been heard in many of Europe’s football grounds, usually met with little objection. Spanning the continent, from the designation of Ajax as a Jewish club to anti-Semitic slurs in Hungarian football stadiums, this scourge must be fought.
This societal ill can also be found in the UK. Only recently, Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur’s club chairman, was met with anti-Semitic slurs on a radio broadcast that went unaddressed by the presenter of the station. Meanwhile, the Premier League only adopted the IHRA of antisemitism in December 2020. The problem of antisemitism within European football seems to be an everlasting one, and more needs to be done by leagues across Europe to clamp down on this concerning development. This panel will address this trend, hearing from MPs, footballers, and those who work exclusively to curb antisemitism in their stadiums.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to welcome its panellists to this timely event and invites you to take part in this important discussion.
Christian Wakeford MP is a proud supporter of Manchester United Football Club and defender of football’s diverse community of fans. Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Sikh, Protestant and Jewish fans stand side-by-side every game. Christian acknowledges that all religions have at some point been subject to racist abuse at a football game and condemns recent anti-Semitic chants targeted at Jewish people. As the MP for Bury South, the home of one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK, he stands against antisemitism in football. Which is why he is vocal in his support of the Henry Jackson Society’s mission to do just that.
Rola Brentlin is Head of Special Projects for Chelsea Football Club, a role she has held since 2018. In this role, Brentlin is leading and coordinating the club’s efforts to combat antisemitism, with the long-term, global campaign, “Say No to Antisemitism.” She has led, managed and delivered on a number of key initiatives in recent years that have gained national and global recognition.
Rola is also the Director of Corporate Affairs and Spokesperson at MHC (Services) Ltd.
Prior to joining Chelsea FC and MHC (Services) Ltd, Brentlin served for over 9 years at Philip Morris International, in various global roles managing Corporate and Government Affairs across Scandinavia, EEMA and Asia.
Joe Jacobson is a Welsh footballer who plays for the Wycombe Wanderers. He is one of only three professional Jewish players in the English game currently and is an active member of the Player Advisory Board.
Isabel Sawkins is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She has a BA in Modern Languages at Durham University and an MA in Political Sociology of Russia and Eastern Europe at UCL. She is currently completing a PhD on Holocaust memory in the Russian Federation at the University of Exeter, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council). Isabel has presented her research at numerous international conferences. She has also published her findings in academic journals, as well as contributing to online media outlets. Isabel’s most recent accomplishment was the curation of an online exhibition about a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland.
On the 29th of November 2021, Isabel Sawkins, a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Rola Brentlin, Head of Special Projects for Chelsea Football Club, Christian Wakeford MP, a proud supporter of Manchester United Football Club and defender of football’s diverse community of fans, and Joe Jacobson, a Welsh footballer who plays for Wycombe Wanderers discussed the blight of antisemitism in football across the European continent. Isabel began by introducing the topic of anti-Semitism within European football. She went on to introduce the panellists and the agenda for the discussion. The discussion then moved on to Rola who talked more about Jewish racism present within football culture. Finally, we heard from Joe who talked about his personal experiences with anti-Semitism in football. The discussion concluded on the topic of certain initiatives that could be implemented to reduce anti-Semitism in football.
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