Let's get rid of 'Yid'

Spurs fans
Spurs fans are rightly proud of their Jewish roots, but a line needs to be drawn. Photo: PA

Is the word Yid any worse than the other insults used at football grounds around the country every weekend? An ordinary fan might think not. Spending years watching games surrounded by proto-Malcolm Tuckers, rattling off dirty words from the stands with machine-gun-like regularity, rather draws the sting out of most insults, rendering them pretty much empty of meaning. Yid, scum - same difference.

As a Jew I have to disagree. The fact that Spurs fans - and opposition fans too - glory in the Y-word makes me intensely uncomfortable. The obvious point that it's an insulting racial slur bears repeating - call me a Yid and you're acting no differently from calling my black colleague by the N-word. The fact that my editor is uncomfortable with me typing the N-word out, but has fewer qualms about Yid, suggests insults against Jews aren't policed as properly as they might be.

But more than that, the bandying about of a term that has no right to be aired in public softens perceptions around it. Many Spurs fans call themselves Yids - suddenly players find it acceptable to pull a Hitler salute, as Mark Bosnich did in 1996 when playing at White Hart Lane for Aston Villa; suddenly opposition fans get the idea of hissing, mocking the fate of Jews in World War II gas chambers; suddenly, as some Dutch fans have when facing Ajax (who, like Spurs, call themselves 'Jews'), chants like "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas" become common parlance.

Fans using the word Yid gives license to more insidious behaviour - and unlike the average, non-Jewish Spurs fan, who can use it for 90 minutes and never give it a second thought, Jews are left to deal with the consequences.