The ‘Jew Goal’
The question of how deeply embedded antisemitic stereotypes and slurs are in society is one of the less tangible areas of antisemitism research. Often, examples emerge in the most banal settings: less serious in many ways than actual antisemitic hate crimes or statements by high profile people, but somehow more troubling for their casual, unthinking, ‘commonsense’ nature.
My viewing of Match of the Day on Saturday night was disturbed while watching the highlights of the game between Chelsea and Arsenal; not by the poor standard of Premiership defending on display, but by the reaction on Twitter to Arsenal’s first goal:
What, I asked myself, is this ‘Jew Goal’?
According to the Urban Dictionary, A Jew Goal is:
a term used to describe a type of footballing goal in which a player squares the ball when in a 2 on 1 with the goalkeeper. it originates from the game fifa and is still largely used within this game but can also be used in real life. a jew goal is frowned upon within the fifa community and often results with the scoring player being called a jew.
1- what a goal
2- no that was a jew goal you jew
A second entry, for ‘Fifa JEW Goal‘ (sic), adds:
This has come to be known as the JEW goal as it is common amongst Zionists. No Jews were harmed in the making of this article.
This term, then, has developed amongst people who play FIFA football games online, and appears to be quite widespread within that world. It even has a Facebook group – ‘The Jew Goal‘ – with over 8,500 members. Presumably the term is meant to indicate that the goal is considered a bit underhand and unfair – not breaking any actual rules, but against an unwritten code of ‘fair play’. Or maybe it is because the goalscorer gets a ‘free’ goal, profiting off the hard work of his team mates.
Here is an example from YouTube of someone scoring a ‘Jew Goal':
One of the viewers of this video on YouTube has written a comment to explain the term’s provenance:
It originates from the game fifa and is still largely used within this game but can also be used in real life. a jew goal is frowned upon within the fifa community.This fits excatly (sic) what the Palistians (sic) are facing under occupation and torture of Israel whilst Isreal (sic) gains sympathy from the world.
It’s tempting to dismiss this as harmless banter between FIFA-playing friends which has little impact on anyone else. And yet, the comment above suggests that at least some of the people who use this term may not limit it to their virtual football games, but that it may actually reflect their understanding of what Jews are actually like, and of real-life situations such as the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The sheer fact that so many Twitter and Facebook users think nothing of using the phrase ‘Jew Goal’, as if none of their followers could or would be offended by it, should itself guard against complacency. At at time when racism in football is headline news, it is worth remembering that the isolated examples of alleged racism that emerge from the highest levels of football, often come from unthinking prejudices and stereotypes that are still widely believed and expressed across society.