Leo Benedictus

Leo Benedictus is a journalist who lives in London.

From The Blog
11 January 2019

You won’t hear the word ‘yid’ sung at most Tottenham Hotspur matches. You’ll hear it sung at all of them. If you know which tunes to listen for, you’ll hear it whenever Spurs are on TV. The club has been Jewish-owned since 1982, and its Jewish associations go back to the 1920s. Most Spurs fans aren’t Jewish, but the story goes that when rivals began to target the Jewish minority with ‘yid’ songs in the 1960s, the rest ‘reclaimed’ the word on their behalf. Since then, every Spurs fan, and player, has been ‘a yid’. (I support Spurs and I’m not Jewish, although my father is.) Last week, the World Jewish Congress condemned football fans for using ‘yid’, ‘either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals’, because it carries ‘a distinctly pejorative and anti-Semitic message’. It doesn’t always carry it, obviously. The WJC statement itself uses the word seven times.

Early Swerves: Magnus Mills

Leo Benedictus, 6 November 2003

For a brief time, a few years ago, I was employed as a temp at the Public Trust Office, one of the grey government monoliths that no one notices in Central London. What this office does, I never discovered. I asked my colleagues and they didn’t know. There were muttered guesses from a few that it was ‘something to do with law’. Almost all of them were temps too, so perhaps...

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