Spanish Basketball Fans Resort to anti-Semitic Tweets After Defeat

Jewish community to lodge complaint after some 18,000 highly offensive messages were posted on Twitter following the Euroleague basketball final.

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CSKA Moscow's guard Vitaly Fridzon (R) fights for the ball with Maccabi Tel Aviv’s U.S. guard Ricky Hickman during the Euroleague semifinal match on May 16, 2014 at the Mediolanum Forum in Assago. Credit: AFP

The Jewish community in Catalonia, Spain, plans to file a legal complaint over thousands of anti-Semitic messages posted on Twitter after Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final on Sunday night.

An estimated 18,000 offensive tweets have been posted since the final, many of them using the #putosjudios (fuckingJews) hashtag. The tweets include such statements as "Fucking Jews. This didn't happen under Hitler," "Fucking Jews... they should stick you all in an oven. FUCKINGBASTARDS!" and "Fucking Israel and fucking jews. I have always said that and I'll carry on saying it."

The complaint will be filed with the Barcelona state attorney by the Jewish community of Barcelona, known as Bet Shalom, and other local Jewish organizations, El Pais newspaper reported.

"We have identified five people," said Bet Shalom president Jai Anguita. "The majority of the remainder of the messages were anonymous."

The state attorney, who specializes in hate crimes and discrimination, will have to decide whether to proceed with the investigation.

I am a firm defender of freedom of expression, but there must be a limit, said Anguita. We could say that these comments come from the high spirits after a [sporting] defeat, that they are almost jokes But history has shown us where these jokes can lead.

Anguita added that the community was aware that bringing the culprits to trial would be difficult under current law, but there are comments that are genuinely too much," he said. "Some of them talk about sending Jews to a gas chamber. We cannot allow for this to snowball; we need to stop giving the impression that incitement to hatred is permitted.

Some of the anti-Semitic messages posted on Twitter.Credit: Screenshot