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U.K. Store Security Guard Tells Boys ‘No Jews’

The 11-year-olds were wearing uniforms of local Jewish secondary school

Brigit Katz
September 16, 2014
Sports Direct. (© Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons. )
Sports Direct. (© Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons. )

A British security guard is the subject of a police investigation thanks to his attempt to bar two 11-year-old Jewish boys from shopping at Sports Direct, a U.K. sporting goods retailer.

“No Jews, no Jews,” the guard allegedly told the boys, students of Yavneh College, a Jewish secondary school in Hertforshire, when they tried to enter a local branch of the store. The boys, who had come to Sports Direct to shop for sneakers, were wearing their school uniforms.

The guard has since been removed from his post and fired by the security firm that employed him. “Our area manager was notified immediately of this incident and took swift action,” Sports Direct said in a statement. “The guard was deeply offensive and disrespectful to the school children. We take pride in the lack of prejudice amongst our trained staff and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

The guard’s actions have also been reported to England’s Crown Prosecution Services, who will determine whether a hate crime has been committed.

This incident comes in the wake of a surge of anti-Semitism in the U.K., a disturbing trend that was triggered by the conflict in Gaza this past summer. In July alone, 302 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to the Community Security Trust, a U.K. watchdog organization. In August, the London supermarket Sainsbury’s briefly removed all the kosher food from its shelves, out of fear that the products would be destroyed by protestors who called for the store to boycott Israeli goods.

Unsurprisingly, all of this has left Jews in the U.K. feeling anxious and concerned about the future of British Jewry. This latest development will likely do little to quell those fears.

Brigit Katz is an editorial intern at Tablet.