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Anti-Semitism Fears Stalk Euro Soccer Tourney

With the European Football Championships just around the corner, the public debate on anti-Semitism and racism in general is gaining momentum in Poland, out of a fear for disruptions by extremists during the games.

Security authorities across the country have been put on alert ahead of the UEFA Euro 2012, which is set to begin in Poland and Ukraine on June 8. In Warsaw alone, 10,000 police will be deployed to ensure appropriate audience conduct among the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans arriving from foreign countries.

In addition, the Polish press has given much focus over the past few days to condemning any form of hostility to minorities, including Jews. The magazine, “Newsweek”, even devoted its entire last issue to the matter. Jesus and Mary appear on the front cover, with Stars of David on their clothes, accompanied by the headline “Jesus, Maria, Jews! How contemporary Poland handles the shame of anti-Semitism.” Among the articles, one can find “Jews, the Pole’s Eternal Enemy”, whose subheading is “Polish anti-Semitism does not require Jews. The hatred is fed by hatred.”

The public debate is taking place just as the former captain of the English soccer team urged British soccer fans to stay away from the European championship. In an interview with BBC, Sol Campbell warned fans of racism and violence in Poland and Ukraine. “You could end up coming back in a coffin,” he said.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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