The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Celtic director Lord Livingston reveals details of fan abuse

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Glasgow – The row between Celtic’s board and some
organisations representing the club’s fans took a dramatic new twist when
director Ian Livingston released details of antisemitic abuse he suffered
online. 

 

Fans organisations had called for Lord Livingston to step down from the
board after he voted for the Conservative government’s tax credit cuts in the
House of Lords. When Celtic chairman Ian Bankier attacked the “criminally
racist” slurs on Livingston, the organisations called for him to consider his
position, too.

 

Yesterday, Livingston posted on a fans’ website, revealing details of
the abuse and defending his action in the Lords. He wrote: “I hope you don’t
mind me posting this. As the person about whom a number of abusive comments
were made, I thought you might be interested in a couple of the racist ones so
you can perhaps see why the chairman was upset about them. Michael Higgins:
‘Get this Ashkenazi *** out of our club and take that other fake Jew prick
Biton with him. This is typical of their sort, infiltrating and destroying
every country and establishment from within’. Or someone under the name Ross
Grant saying ‘He’s a Jew what do you expect’.”

 

Livingston added: “Many others were simply abusive, not, I assume,
anything to do with my religion but rather because I had a different political
view.

 

Actually I wasn’t in agreement with the nature of the tax credit cuts
but believed that this motion was not something the unelected House of Lords
should do, so voted against it.

 

“No doubt some will disagree
but you might consider the nature of expressing your view and whether abuse is
also in line with your view of Celtic’s ethos. I have always believed Celtic
fans are the best in the world and a few racist postings on social media will
not change that.”

 

The Affiliation of Registered Celtic Supporters’ Clubs, Celtic Trust and
the Green Brigade condemned any abuse of Livingston, but rejected Bankier’s
claim of it being “criminally racist”, and called on Bankier to “consider his
position as chairman”.

 

Celtic replied with a strongly worded statement: “Ian made his position
absolutely clear on Friday when he thanked, praised and commended Celtic
supporters and shareholders and clarified that he had not branded our
supporters as some had suggested.

 

“Ian was simply referring to
those individuals that the Trust in their statement have also condemned, so we
seem to be in agreement. We are surprised and disappointed that a public
statement has been made without any dialogue on the matter with the club but,
as always, we will be happy to meet any of our fans’ groups to discuss.”

 

Bankier said: “I have not branded our supporters racist and it is
outrageous to suggest I would ever do that. I was only referring to a small
number of specific comments which have been made on social media, which I
believe are unacceptable, and I know Celtic supporters would agree with me.”