Jewish Rights Group Demands UEFA Investigate Spanish ‘Deportivo’ Paper Over Antisemitism
Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to investigate a major Spanish sports publication over a piece one of its columnists wrote that was apparently antisemitic.
In a letter to the UEFA President Michel Platini, Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels protested Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo columnist Xavier Bosch over his claims that a Jewish lobby with “unlimited money and inordinate influence” was trying to pressure FC Barcelona to drop its shirt-sponsorship deal with Qatar.
Samuels also criticized Bosch for claiming that “Mossad agents” had infiltrated FC Barcelona, in an apparent reference to allegations that former club president Joan Laporta had hired detectives to spy on players.
“One wonders which is more dangerous? The columnist’s expressions deemed ‘antisemitic’ under the European Union’s definition or the antisemitism of indifference of the editor?,” wrote Samuels, referring to comments by Deportivo Barcelona editor’s response that “there is no antisemitism in [the Bosch] article.”
“[Bosch] is simply concerned about the external pressure [FC Barcelona] and its board are receiving against the Qatar sponsorship … Bosch just wants what’s best for the club, without opposition from outside. There is no antisemitism in his article. He is against any kind of lobby: French, German, Jewish,” editor Fernando Polo told the Algemeiner last week.
The Wiesenthal Center, meanwhile urged the UEFA to investigate the paper and to call for Bosch’s immediate dismissal, based on its findings. It also demanded an apology from the paper “for having offended both the Jewish people and the beautiful game.”