In the wake of the latest Football Association (FA) statement which outlines that anyone chanting the 'y-word' in football grounds may face prosecution, the debate around this topic, as well antisemitism and anti-Jewish abuse more widely, has been sparked again.
Now Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron has contributed to the debate by saying the use of the 'y-word' by Spurs fans was not intended to cause offence.
In 2011, Kick It Out released a film, entitled The Y-Word, written and produced by David and Ivor Baddiel, in conjunction with Maccabi GB, Community Security Trust, The Shoresh Foundation and Fahrenheit Films.
“The film is not intended to censor football fans,” said David. “It's simply to raise awareness that the 'y-word' is - and has been for many, many years - a race hate word. It's our belief that some football fans may not even realise this, and the film is designed therefore to inform and raise debate."
Kick It Out has long been campaigning around this area and maintains education is the best way to progress this complex debate. The minute-long film explores the use of the 'y-word' by football supporters.
Chelsea star Frank Lampard features in the film alongside Tottenham Hotspur legends Ledley King and Gary Lineker, England women’s star Rachel Yankey and Zesh Rehman, the Premier League’s first British Asian player.
The Prime Minister feels Spurs fans who chant the 'y-word' should not be prosecuted unless they are motivated by hatred.
Cameron said: “There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as 'yids' and someone calling someone a 'yid' as an insult. You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted – but only when it’s motivated by hate.”
A message was recently sent into the campaign which has given the perspective of a Jewish woman whose father experienced the marches led by Oswald Mosley and the Blackshirts.
She said: “At last somebody has come out to try and stop this hideous word from being used. I'm a married mother with three grown up sons who've all got children.
“I have been going on for years expressing my disgust when I hear Spurs fans chanting 'yiddo' it makes me sick to my stomach that they are allowed to get away with this. As for Cameron saying it's OK, what an absolute disgrace.
“My poor dad God rest his soul fought the blackshirts in the east end. He used to tell me stories of walking along with my mum with these Jew haters walking behind him calling him a 'yid'.
“He also marched with the miners against Mosley and was hit over the head with a baton. I find it so hard to believe that some Jewish Spurs supporters call themselves 'yids'. Are they crazy?
“As you've said, all the other races are so protected but there's something about being Jewish that we should regard it as water off a duck's back.
“Please keep this protest alive. I know I'm not anyone who's important, just a Jewish person, and I've tried to express myself as much as I can.”
At the time of its release, the film received widespread support from London’s Premier League clubs.
Tottenham Executive Director, Donna Cullen, said: “It is unthinkable and wholly unacceptable that, in this day and age, supporters are subjected to antisemitic abuse such as hissing to imitate the gas chambers used during the Holocaust in the Second World War.
“We look forward to an informed and proper debate with Kick It Out, stakeholders and the key authorities to raise greater awareness and put in place the stringent measures needed to stop antisemitic abuse in football. We are committed to eliminating all forms of racism and we shall support efforts to kick antisemitism out of the game.”
Chelsea Chairman, Bruce Buck, commented: “Chelsea FC has been campaigning about issues around antisemitism for many years. We have, and always will, take the strongest possible action against anyone found making any kind of discriminatory chant or taunt. It is great to see the football world come together to support a project that will raise awareness of the problem.”
Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, said: “Arsenal FC supports any initiative designed to reduce exclusion. The club works hard under the ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ banner on a range of issues aimed at increasing equality and inclusion.
“Given the club's proximity to some of the country’s largest Jewish communities, stamping out antisemitism is something we have, historically, paid particular attention to and applaud Kick It Out in this new method of tackling it.”
The game's governing bodies also pledged their backing, with FA General Secretary, Alex Horne, saying: “The FA is delighted to support the film and we hope that it has a positive impact in educating football fans on antisemitic behaviour.
“The 'think again' message is clear for those who use chants such as the y-word. We are committed to football for all and our overall aim is to make football stadiums family friendly and open to everyone."
Deputy Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Bobby Barnes, said: “The PFA has a zero-tolerance stance to all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred and this includes all forms of antisemitism.
“Chants and songs are a part of football culture but we will not condone any form of chanting that causes offence to players or the majority of supporters who go to the game to enjoy football, not to create trouble.”
Chairman of the Football League, Greg Clarke, gave the film his backing: “There is no place for any form of racism in football and we welcome this initiative on antisemitism by Kick It Out. Football League clubs are committed to creating safe, family friendly environments at their grounds and they will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.”
John Mann MP, Chair of The FA Working Group on tackling antisemitism and Islamophobia in football, added: "The Y-Word is a powerful and important film which demonstrates that footballers from many different backgrounds have complete contempt for racist taunts, whoever the victim.
“I know The FA takes these matters seriously and have been pleased with their efforts to implement the recommendations of my report on tackling antisemitism and Islamophobia in football.”