Jack Mendel
The Online Editor at the Jewish News

Football bosses have real chutzpah

It’s a chutzpah for a Jewish team to be told it’s not allowed to use that term in their name. Offence must be driven by insult, not perceived sensitivity.

Last week, one of six new teams entering the Maccabi football league next season was told by the London Football Association (LFA) they can’t call themselves ‘Tottenham Chutzpah.’

The reason, despite having called themselves this four years ago, was because it was ‘offensive’.

The question is, to who?

The dictionary definition of offence, is “annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself.”

In this case, it’s hard to believe anyone would be insulted.

If anything, it’s offensive to suggest Jews might be offended by the use of the term.

It’s part of our cultural language and identity.

Resentment is caused by someone telling us we can’t use that term, for no apparent reason.

Clearly the self-application of ’Chutzpah’ is provided in a certain context that is understood.

Those choosing the term know its meaning, as a humorous yiddish term meaning to have courage or guts. They are playing for a Jewish team against other Jewish teams.

There is little scope for offence.

It’s being used, as it has previously been used, in an endearing and slightly self-deprecating way.

It would be offensive if a team referenced something anti-Semitic, or used a yiddish term in order to antagonise a Jewish team, but this isn’t happening here.

There’s plenty of real offence to go around, so let’s not start creating imaginary uproar.

As a community, incase anyone hasn’t noticed, we know how to complain.

We don’t need to be told when to be offended, and certainly not when it comes to our own use of yiddish.

Whilst it’s clear the LFA have good intentions in trying to prevent conflict, it would be a lot better to not try and decide what will offend us.

About the Author
Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.
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