US/World News

Charges dropped against soccer fans who sang about burning Jews

(JTA) – Prosecutors in Belgium decided not to prosecute soccer supporters who sang at a match about burning Jews, explaining the supporters’ three-year stadium ban was punishment enough. The news site HLN reported on Nov. 21 about the decision to dismiss charges against four Bruges supporters, who last year were banned by the national soccer association from entering all major stadiums in Belgium for up to three years. Michael Freilich, a Jewish lawmaker in federal parliament, criticized the decision, which follows a string of incidents in which Belgian authorities were seen to be lax on antsemitic hate speech. “This is a bad signal,” he told HLN. “Antisemitic hate speech is an offense according to the criminal code. So it must be punished. Otherwise, why do we have laws?” he said. The four supporters were the ones identified from dozens who in August 2018 were filmed celebrating their local team’s victory over Brussels’ Anderlecht team by singing in Flemish: “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews ’cause Jews burn the best.”

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