Premier League club Aston Villa’s Passover greeting was spammed by 27,000 ‘angry’ reactions and thousands of antisemitic comments.
The Midlands side said it “deplores religious intolerance” after a wave of anti-Israel responses were shared on its Pesach message, which featured a Star of David.
One commenter, a verified Facebook user called Mahmoud Nashwan, a Palestinian from Gaza who lives in Belgium, responded with a Palestine flag, which was ‘liked’ more than 4,400 times.
Aston Villa commented on the post: “The club deplores religious intolerance of any form and is an inclusive organisation who welcomes people of all faiths”.
Keith Rowe however thanked the club “for your good wishes at this special Passover time. We are a small community here in Brum and really appreciate your message”, he said.
Comedian Lee Kern told the club, posting on Twitter: “You say you deplore such intolerance, so I know it’s a mission, but why don’t you show this by blocking every scumbag?”, adding, “anyone that can be identified as a Villa fan.. ban them from your ground.”
Lord John Mann, the government’s adviser on antisemitism, asked “Where are Facebook in blocking this hatred?”, saying it was an “organised attack of bots and extremists from non Aston Villa fans and indeed from people with no interest whatsoever in football.”
Aston Villa was among 19 Premier League clubs to have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism earlier in 2021. The only club which declined to adopt it was Sheffield United.
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