The Jewish Chronicle

Aston Villa Pesach message is bombarded with antisemiti­c comments


ASTON VILLA football club has issued a statement condemning hatred after its Pesach Facebook greeting was met with 27,000 “angry” emoji responses and a torrent of anti-Israel and antisemiti­c comments. The graphic, which featured the Villa logo, a Star of David and the words “happy Passover” set against a background in the club’s signature claret, was posted with the caption “Chag Pesach Sameach”.

It was soon flooded with anti-Zionist and antisemiti­c messages, including one stating, “Israel is the country of terrorism and killing children”. Another said, “this is the biggest evidence that the Sawiris family is supportive of the Zionist entity.”

Egyptian businessma­n Nassef Sawiris is Villa’s co-owner and chairman.

Podcast host Jonny Gould, a director of the Aston Villa Supporters Trust, said he immediatel­y wrote to Villa’s Chief Corporate Affairs officer, Paul Tyrrell, after seeing the replies.

Mr Gould said Mr Tyrrell responded to him within “about seven minutes” and promised to issue a response on Facebook, which the club did.

Villa later updated the online post to read: “The club deplores religious intoleranc­e of any form and is an inclusive organisati­on which welcomes people of all faiths.”

Mr Gould said he had asked the club to reaffirm its commitment to the IHRA definition of antisemiti­sm in the statement, which it did not.

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