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Maccabi Haifa fans face antisemitism at stadium built during Nazi Germany era

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Maccabi Haifa fans face antisemitism at stadium built during Nazi Germany era

Supporters of Union Berlin reportedly made antisemitic gestures and slurs towards fans of the Israeli team Maccabi Haifa at the Olympiastadion in Berlin during their soccer game against Union Berlin on Thursday. 

Members of the German-Israeli Society Youth Forum reported that they had beer thrown at them and that one Berlin fan had attempted to burn an Israeli flag.

Early Newspaper

“We’re at the game of #UECL between @fcunion and @mhfootballclub. In the mixed block we were threatened by Union fans, pelted with beer and insulted, among other things, as ‘sy Jews,'” the tweet read.

Wir sind gerade beim Spiel der #UECL zwischen @fcunion und @mhfootballclub. Im gemischten Block wurden wir von Union-Fans bedroht, mit Bier beworfen und u.a. als “scheiß Juden” beleidigt. #FCUMAC #Antisemitismus

— JuFo DIG Berlin (@JuFoDIGBerlin) September 30, 2021

Maccabi Haifa lost 3-0 to the German team. The two teams played against each other as part of the group stage qualification round for the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League. There were nearly 24,000 Berlin fans and 1,000 Haifa fans at the event.

Union Berlin plays in the Bundesliga, the top professional association soccer league in Germany, while Maccabi Haifa plays in the Israeli Premier League, the top soccer league in Israel.

The Olympiastadion, where the match was held, was constructed between 1934 and 1936, according to the stadium’s website, during the time when the Nazi party controlled Germany. Maccabi Haifa is reportedly the first Israeli club to play at the stadium, according to Yahoo News.

In Berlin where Union played Maccabi Haifa in the #UECL eye witnesses were shocked by the levels of antisemitism.

This man made nazi salutes towards the Maccabi fans and abused those who called him out. pic.twitter.com/ZmPXS5RbCg

— Fare (@farenet) October 1, 2021

Maccabi Haifa fans were situated in close proximity to the “away end” at the stadium, DW News reported.

Union Berlin asked authorities to give them the information of the block and seat numbers of the people responsible for the antisemitic incident. 

The German club also condemned the attack on their website. “This behavior is shameful and we won’t tolerate it. We apologize to those affected. We support the investigations of the police with all sources of information available to us,” said FC Union Berlin’s president Dirk Zingler.

“Football matches are our opportunity to break down prejudices through meeting and contact with each other. Many of us had good meetings and discussions with our guests from Haifa and representatives of Jewish organizations in Berlin yesterday,” he continued.   

The German-Israeli Society Youth Forum thanked Union fans that showed solidarity at the stadium and spoke out against the antisemitic behavior.

“Thank you for the great hospitality. It was an exciting game in front of your and our audience and also in this stadium that has its meaning. Thank you and see you in Israel,” the organization said on Twitter.

Vielen Dank für die tolle Gastfreundschaft.

Es war ein aufregendes Spiel vor eurem und auch vor unserem Publikum und auch in diesem Stadion, das seine Bedeutung hat.

Vielen Dank und auf ein Wiedersehen in Israel. https://t.co/NnGa9PfAMr

— Maccabi Haifa FC (@mhfootballclub) September 30, 2021

The Israeli team had not issued any comment on the incident, but thanked Union Berlin for “an exciting game in front of your crowd and also in front of ours.”

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Maccabi Haifa fans face antisemitism at stadium built during Nazi Germany era