US/World News

Soccer fans accost Jewish-Italian sportscaster in London

(JTA) – An Italian-Jewish sportscaster said he was accosted by a group of youths after their team lost a key match in London. In a blog post David Guetta, known as the radio voice of the Florence soccer team Fiorentina, reported that about 20 youths had accosted him on Feb. 25 as he waited for an underground train after Fiorentina lost to the English team Tottenham Hotspur, a club with many Jewish supporters. The loss ousted Fiorentina from the European League championships.

“They recognized me and started to chant ‘David Guetta, a train for Mauthausen awaits you,’” he wrote. The chant rhymes in Italian. The shameful thing, Guetta wrote, is that the youths who accosted him “almost certainly do not really know what happened at Mauthausen. Or at Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka.” He added that he would have liked to have had the encounter in Florence, “in front of the memorial plaque that recalls the Florentines who left with these trains that today they want for me, and who never returned.”

Racism and antisemitism by militant soccer fans has been an issue in Italy for years. The Feb. 25 incident was not the first time that Guetta, who has provided the radio play-by-play for Fiorentina for more than 30 years, had been subjected to antisemitic slurs. In an interview for an Italian Jewish newspaper in 2010, he reported that he had been called “s—–tty Jew” on a number of occasions, had swastikas scrawled on his motorcycle and received threatening letters. “My response to these totally imbecile manifestations was to rejoin the Florence Jewish community after 14 years,” he said, even though Guetta said he was not observant.

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