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Prime Minister David Cameron said Tottenham Hotspur supporters should not be prosecuted for using 'yid'
David Cameron has said Tottenham Hotspur fans who used the word ‘yid’ in chants should not be prosecuted as they do not mean to offend.
The Prime Minister said Spurs supporters who call themselves the “Yid Army” and players “Yiddos” are not motivated by hate.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Mr Cameron was talking about the law and tried to draw a distinction between those who use the term offensively and those who don’t.”
The spokesman added that in order for someone to be prosecuted for using an offensive word there has to be malice or hatred behind its use.
But a statement stopped short of saying fans should be free to use the word. It said: "We would discourage anyone from using the term ‘Yid’ given the historical associations of the term and the offence it could cause.
"The PM was asked about criminal prosecution and specifically whether people who refer to themselves in this way should be prosecuted.
"Self-referring is clearly different to people using it as a term of abuse motivated by hatred."
These comments come amid controversy over the term’s use amongst Jewish groups who have insisted it is always offensive and encourages anti-Semitism.
Last week the Football Association said use of the word was “offensive” and its use was “inappropriate in a football setting”.
It warned that Spurs fans that they could face criminal charges if they use the term.
However, this did not stop fans at White Hart Lane singing the chant during their 2-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday.
Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle the Prime Minister said: “You have to think of the [intent].
“There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult.
“You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted — but only when it’s motivated by hate.”
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