Historically, Ajax was popularly seen as having "Jewish roots", although not an official Jewish club like the city's nl: WV-HEDW
Ajax has had a Jewish image since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to the Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam and opponents saw many supporters walking through this neighbourhood to get to the stadium.
Ajax fans (few of whom are actually Jewish
) responded by embracing Ajax's "Jewish" identity: calling themselves "super Jews", chanting "Jews, Jews" ("Joden, Joden") at games, and adopting Jewish symbols such as the Star of David
and the Israeli flag
Some sources say that Ajax fans began doing this after seeing Tottenham Hotspur
fans employing similar symbolism
This Jewish imagery eventually became a central part of Ajax fans' culture.
At one point ringtones of "Hava Nagila
", a Hebrew folk song
, could be downloaded from the club's official website.
Beginning in the 1980s, fans of Ajax's rivals escalated their antisemitic
rhetoric, chanting slogans like "Hamas
, Hamas/Jews to the gas
" ("Hamas, hamas, joden aan het gas"), hissing to imitate the flow of gas, giving Nazi salutes
The eventual result was that many (genuinely) Jewish Ajax fans stopped going to games.
In the 2000s the club began trying to persuade fans to drop their Jewish image.
This most notably happened in January 2005, when Ajax tried to stop their Jewish image, because of (rival club) Feyenoord
's fans chanting anti-Semitic comments (translated from Dutch to English): "Ssssssssss… [the hissing sound of gas]. We're hunting the Jews! There is the Ajax train to Auschwitz
! Sieg! Sieg! Sieg! German
for 'victory', a quote from Hitler