A jihad banner welcomed Israeli soccer team Hapoel Tel Aviv to a recent match with Polish squad Legia Warszawa. The incident is being touted as another worrisome sign of anti-Semitism in Poland, which will host next year’s 2012 Euro football championship.
Investigative Project (H/T Susan K) The green banner, which stretched across an entire section behind one goal, simply said “Jihad” and “Legia” in a font resembling Arabic.
“This is yet another case of anti-Semitic behavior by extremist groups active in Polish football stadiums, and it could have been predicted,” said Rafal Pankowski of the Warsaw-based Never Again NGO. “Some Legia fans have been known for anti-Semitic behaviour for years and they had a chance to express their hatred of Jews again when Legia played an Israeli team, this time adopting a pseudo-Islamist guise,” he added.
In August, police in Lower Silesia investigated complaints about anti-Semitic chanting from fans of another Polish team. “Jews, Jews, Jews, all of Lodz are Jews,” shouted supporters of Slask Wroclaw in a match against Widzew Lodz, before calls of “Auschwitz is your home,” and “you’re going to the oven.”
Lodz, the site of ancient Jewish community and a massive Nazi death camp in WWII, was mocked because of the similarity between the team’s name, Widzew, and a Polish term for Jews, “Zidzew.”