Tag Archives: ken bates

2010

A bad year for Israel in the UK has also been a bad year for many of those who have briefed so viciously against Israel.

Nick Clegg, who called for Israel to be disarmed during Operation Cast Lead in the wake of thousands of Hamas rockets hitting Israeli towns, became Deputy Prime-Minister in the coalition government but has since had his new found credibility shattered having reneged on a pre-election promise that had won his party the student vote; not to increase tuition fees.

Clegg and his anti-Israel Liberal Democrat party will find it difficult to be taken seriously in future, including on Israel.

Lauren Booth seems to have hit financial rock bottom with her bankruptcy and George Galloway lost his national radio slot on Talksport and was ousted from Parliament at the General Election along with Martin Linton, Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine.

Woe betide those who fall from power. The pro-Arab Lobby will have no use for them and will end up looking elsewhere.

So one man’s loss is another’s gain and the new anti-Israel voice on the block is Andrew Slaughter, who retained his seat in the election.

Although Slaughter is Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister that didn’t stop him recently meeting Hamas; the organisation that likes to send Palestinians into Israeli restaurants and discos primed with bombs to murder as many Jews as possible.

It has been a year where the picket of Ahava in Covent Garden has taken root, with the objective of closing it down.

In a way it has been a sad but fascinating experience to see the type of person that turns up to picket a Jewish owned shop.

Less attention has been paid to the regular thursday evening anti-Israel picket outside Marks and Spencer on Oxford Street whose objective is to stop people shopping there on the basis that M&S was a chief funder of Israel’s creation and growth; proof if it ever was needed that Israel-hate is not premised on concern for international law but on Israel’s existence per se.

It is also interesting to note how many of the Ahava protesters are loathe to be filmed, constantly covering their faces.

One must also question if they are solely concerned about human rights why they don’t picket Iranian, Egyptian, Russian, Chinese and Sudanese businesses.

If Ahava does close even the protesters will be disappointed as they will be forced to find another Israeli outlet to vent their anger against.

Other low points of 2010 were:

1. The EDO case, where a judge somehow found it within himself, during his summing up to the jury, to show admiration for those who had smashed up a British arms-making factory.

2. Phil Woolas losing his Parliamentary seat after his Lib Dem opponent ran crying to the courts accusing Woolas of lying about him, when lying on political leaflets is, sadly, a part of British election culture. There was also MPAC’s sinister intervention against Woolas.

3. Mick Davies, head of UJIA, using “Apartheid” in relation to Israel.

4. The Law Society allowing itself to be taken over for a weekend Israel hatefest in the form of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

5. Hearing “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz” at Elland Road.

Thank you to those that have given their encouragement over the last year (including Oyvagoy, Jeremy Havardi, MelchettMike, CIFWatch, ModernityBlog, Harry’s Place, ElderofZiyon, The London Jewish News, The Jewish Chronicle and The Jerusalem Post) and many other individuals, including some incredible commenters from whom I have learnt more than I could imagine.

It has also been a year in which England retained the Ashes but lost a World Cup.

Ken Bates, Leeds United’s Chairman, summed up the World Cup debacle perfectly in his recent programme notes for the QPR game:

“FIFA finally lost all credibility when they handed the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. That idiot Blatter said the object was to take football into new territories. The Qatar episode should be fun with the Persian Gulf on one side and (a) million square miles of desert on the other. Don’t make me laugh! Money talks – but to who? If Qatar wanted to make a lasting impact on the world they could help their fellow Muslims in Palestine to end 60 years of misery and enable them to establish a Palestinian state. A few bob to help rebuild Afghanistan wouldn’t go amiss either.”

Finishing on a high note Israel has just struck gas; £61 billion worth of the stuff, which sent the Tel Aviv stock exchange to an all time high. This should give Israel energy independence for 90 years and could allow for exports to Europe.

As James Hider of The Times comments the old joke about Moses leading the Jewish people to the one place in the Middle East that does not have oil is not so funny anymore.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ken Bates responds to anti-Semitic chants

Ken Bates, Chairman of Leeds United (Daily Mail)

I wrote to Ken Bates a few weeks ago after seeing a child give a Hitler salute and hearing some fans around me singing “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” at the Leeds v Spurs FA Cup replay at Elland Road on February 3rd.

He very kindly telephoned me a few days later and the gist of what he said is as stated in his programme notes on the subject for tonight’s home game against Walsall. They are as follows:

I had a complaint from a Leeds fan who lives in London about the anti-Jewish chanting when we played Spurs. The substituting of “Auschwitz” and “Belsen” when the Spurs fans were singing that they were “on the road to Wembley” is so old hat. The Second World War ended 65 years ago and I had to contend with the same nonsense nearly 30 years ago when I was at Chelsea. Do me a favour, please grow up.

In case you don’t know it Leeds is a club with strong Jewish connections. In fact I am one of the few non-Jewish chairman going back as far as I can remember. I don’t have a problem with Jews. I was, in fact, the only gentile in Jerusalem at a bar mitzvah and looked so Jewish with my beard, little black hat and overcoat that I was asked to join other ceremonies.

There are a few exceptions (I could name one or two) but by and large they are a talented race who punch above their weight in all aspects of society. Mind you, the north London lot don’t help themselves by describing themselves as “Tottenham Yids”. In the old days they even wore badges to that effect.

However, it is not good enough to write to me some days later complaining after the event. Around the ground at Elland Road there are boards advising you of the text number 07946 362117. If you have a problem, use it – whereupon our response team will be quick to react. Remember, for evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.

You’re only here to watch the Leeds

Phew. That was close. I am just back from Brisbane Road where I went through the indignity of sitting with the Orient fans (it being impossible to get an away end ticket with these division one grounds being so blooming small).

Max Gradel breaks free with the ball.

With Leeds totally dominating typically they went behind. But just as the Orient fans around me were preparing to celebrate the final whistle they were hilariously silenced when Charlie Daniels lashed the ball past his own goalie.

The ref blew up 20 seconds later. A famous victory was denied them and the two teams are unlikely to ever meet again. 

Despair after conceding a 95th minute own goal.

I was sat opposite the huge Leeds travelling support who delightfully kept singing “Leeds are going up” to the tune of K.C & The Sunshine Band’s “na na na na na na na na na na Baby give it up“.

And as ever they also directed “You’re only here to watch the Leeds” at the Orient fans (which is probably true seeing as the crowd of 8013 was by far Orient’s biggest of the season).

You're only here to watch the Leeds

Finally, the lads travelled back north happy and left the Orient fans with the Leeds anthem “Marching on Together” ringing sickeningly in their ears.

The huge travelling Leeds support.

On another note I had a phone-call from Ken Bates this week. I had written to him out of concern over the Nazi salute I had seen and Belsen chants I had heard when Leeds played Spurs in the recent FA Cup replay at Elland Road.

He suggested I should have done something myself like contact a steward, ring the number in the programme or even remonstrate with the culprits myself. 

He said he would have had the culprits banned from Elland Road and then quoted me Edmund Burke’s “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”.

He had a point although after a three hour drive I’d rather enjoy the game than have to explain to a steward who said what and where. As for remonstrating myself (I did actually try briefly but gave up) even he agreed that “it was likely that I would have had my front teeth pushed in”.

He told me about his visit to Israel and to the Western Wall for a barmitzvah. After 20 minutes he wished me well and told me he would address the issue in his programme notes.

Just before ringing off he asked me what I do. When I told him I was a journalist he suggested I should get a more respectable career like becoming a coke-dealer or a pimp.

It was good that he called me though. I don’t think too many Chairman would take time out of their busy schedule to speak with a fan over their concerns.

I also took the opportunity to express my worry over our current league form. “We’re working on that,” he replied.

So if you are going to Leeds V Walsall this tuesday please let me know what his programme notes say. They normally make an interesting read anyway as they focus on world events in addition to the footy.

Leeds United and anti-Semitism

Leeds United (epltalk)

I read a fascinating but sad piece by Jessica Elgot of the JC on the racism she encountered at the Spurs v Leeds game last weekend.

I thought it would be the normal diatribe about Spurs fans singing “Yid Army” being anti-Semitic. It really isn’t. Spurs fans sing it week in week out and there has never been a hint of anti-Semitism about it. Spurs basically has always had a large Jewish following and a Jewish board of directors. The fans mean nothing sinister and if it allows them a good singalong (something severely lacking at their north London neighbours) then so be it.

The only thing that Spurs fans can really be accused of is thinking that Spurs are better than they really are.

But Jessica noticed something much more sinister: Some Leeds fans singing “Spurs are on their way to Belsen”.

Jessica writes: “But the Leeds fans went nowhere around White Hart Lane without being chaperoned by about twenty police officers per fan. Most were singing these chants in full view of the police. Who did nothing. No warning. No arrests. Nothing. What did the Tottenham door staff do, as the Leeds fans entered through the turnstiles, singing about gas chambers? Nothing. It was easier to keep their heads down and shut up.”

I have to admit that I was safely tucked away surreptitiously among the Spurs fans so I was immune to this chanting while biting my nails everytime Spurs won one of their many freekicks on the edge of Leeds United’s penalty area. But it doesn’t surprise me.

Leeds United have come a long way. When I was at Leeds University I used to go to every Leeds home game and always used to pass a member of the National Front selling the current issue of its magazine. Once I encountered a Leeds fan with a swastika tattoo.

These days there is nothing like that at Elland Road, just a good feeling of being surrounded by friendly, down-to-earth Yorkshire folk. Elland Road is one of the best places in Britain where whites, blacks, asians, Muslims, Jews and Christians sit down in unity to cheer their team on. There is no sectarianism or racism. 

Lucas Radebe (golplanet)

But Leeds on the road is a different affair.

When I went to see Millwall v Leeds a few years ago the Leeds fans booed their way through the minute’s silence for George Best, so much so that the referee had to call an end to the silent respect for a once great player after just 30 seconds. And on the way to the train afterwards a Leeds fan was literally singing the horrendous Munich 1958 plane crash song right in front of a policeman.  

This is all just a minority of fans and Leeds is not an inherently racist club. There is no racism ever about black or asian players and Lucas Radebe will always be loved by every Leeds fan for his commitment to and passion for Leeds United (the Keiser Chiefs, huge Leeds fans themselves, named themselves after his South African club). 

Leeds have always had a hooligan element; Leeds thugs are known as the Leeds Service Crew, also known as the Risk. But while the hooliganism and racism has mainly gone there is still an element that prevails. 

There is probably not much Leeds can do about this element. Now it is probably down to society to educate more about the horrors of the Holocaust and Holocaust Memorial Day this wednesday is a good start but not enough.

Maybe Ken Bates could have a say in his programme notes at the Leeds v Spurs replay on February 3rd about the sinister chanting that Jessica heard.