JTA — Employees of the Dutch national railways sang a soccer song about Jews for train passengers that the state-owned company said was “wholly inappropriate.”
Nederlandse Spoorwegen, or NS, apologized on Sunday for the incident, which happened just after midnight aboard a train heading from a parade in the southern city of Tilburg to Rotterdam.
“Where do the Jews come from? From Israel, far away. Do super Jews live there, too? Yeah, super Jews live there, too. Do Jews like soccer? Only when they’re rooting for Ajax,” the employees sang, the AD newspaper reported based on complaints by some of the passengers.
Ajax is the main soccer team of Amsterdam. Its supporters and players are often referred to as “Jews,” perhaps in recognition of Amsterdam’s rich Jewish history. Many non-Jewish Ajax fans refer to themselves as Jews and wave Israeli flags at matches.
Supporters of other teams have taken to taunting Ajax supporters with anti-Semitic imagery and chants about Hamas, gas chambers, Nazis and burning Jews. In recent years, the chants have increasingly begun to appear in contexts that are not related to soccer, such as the carnival and school graduation parties.
“It is our understanding that a pro-Ajax soccer song was performed,” NS said in a statement Sunday. “Let us be very clear: We find this wholly inappropriate.”
The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, Dutch Jewry’s watchdog on anti-Semitism, called the incident “stupid beyond words” and “unacceptable.”