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May 12, 2023 12:13 pm

Police Investigating Fans of Top London Soccer Club Over Antisemitic WhatsApp Messages

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Emirates Stadium, Arsenal’s home stadium. Photo: Nazmi Amin-Tai via Wikimedia Commons

A WhatsApp group for supporters of the one of the English Premier League’s top soccer clubs has been exposed as rife with antisemitic imagery and messages.

An investigation by the British news outlet The Guardian revealed that messages shared by members of the Ashburton Army — which gathers fans of north London side Arsenal — were “largely Holocaust-focused, though they also take in Israel-Palestine conspiracy theories, Jewish practice related to circumcision and [north London rivals] Tottenham’s reputation as a Jewish club. The sentiments are communicated in words, songs, memes and cartoons.”

Arsenal’s management is liaising with police over the messages, which were posted in 2019.

The Guardian said it had seen “dozens of harrowing messages, some targeting all Jews and others directed at one Jewish supporter who was part of the group but has since left.”

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It noted that in “none of those screenshots did an administrator delete the offending posts, remonstrate with the perpetrators or remove those responsible from the group.”

In a statement, the club said that it was  “aware of the historic messages on a private WhatsApp group.”

It added: “We strongly condemn the abusive and discriminatory language being used. We are liaising with the police on the matter.”

According to The Guardian, the Ashburton Army “numbers about 200 and prospective members must show they are willing to be part not just of a supporter group but a social group. Those keen to join must prove their character by working on flags, banners and songs, attending meetings, walking from the pub to the ground en masse and participating in charitable activities, such as assisting in food banks.”

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