Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Beitar Jerusalem and the Double Standard Against Israel

February 1, 2013 2:18 am 2 comments

Caribbean and Orthodox Jewish soccer players in a 2011 match. Photo: Soccer for Harmony

So often there is an unfair double standard applied to Israel. When media outlets ignore the slaughter of tens of thousands of Arabs in Syria while headlining every purported Israeli infraction, it’s clear, repeated bias.

On the topic of double standards, we must not overlook the desperate “right of return” claim that only travels in one direction. Arabs seek to take what they claim was theirs prior to 1948 and then again in 1967, while Jews expelled from Bahrain, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and plenty of other Arab countries have little noise being made for their return or compensation. Where is the liberal media condemning the unfair treatment and the racism against Jews? It is a constant hyper-focus on only one side of the conflict.

Now, there is another story receiving extensive media coverage, both inside and outside of Israel about the possibility of two Muslim athletes joining the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team. Fans of the team are loudly protesting the possibility of Muslims joining the team – they held signs this weekend at a game reading “Beitar will be pure forever” and they reportedly shouted anti-Muslim slogans. Of course, it was headline news in every Israeli newspaper.

It is quite clear that the behavior of those fans is not representative of the Jewish State. That said, why is there no media coverage of the lack of Jews or Israelis on Arab soccer teams? Or about the fact that the Jewish state has so many Arab soccer teams. Where is the feature article on how an Israeli (soccer player or not) setting foot in most Arab countries would be putting his life in danger? Once again, it is a one-way street paved solely with Israeli and Jewish accountability.

While ESPN dubbed Beitar fans “the most dangerous fans” in Israeli soccer, one wonders how an Israeli player might be treated on a Muslim team in Iran, or an Arab team in Yemen? They would be lynched of course – The spectacle would make Beitar fans look like kindergarten children, and the Jewish player would not make it out of the stadium alive.

Meanwhile, Ruby Rivlin, speaker of the Knesset and a member of the right-wing Likud party said “We support the battle against fascism and racism, and we should lead it.” The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat said: “We cannot … discriminate against Muslim or Christian players from being in our teams. This is not just about football, but a Jewish and national interest.” Barkat and Rivlin would likely be hung if they tried to make similar statements about Jews playing for teams in Arab countries.

Twisted media reports hurt Israel, as does ignoring daily rants and acts of incitement and hatred against Jews that emanate from Arab and Muslim nations with little to no coverage or commentary by the media. As CEO of 5WPR a Public Relations agency I would urge journalists to compare apples to apples – not oranges. While Israel may not be a perfect society things should be kept in prospective.

Israel is that rare Middle East country where the streets are not named for suicide bombers and terrorist masterminds; write about that.

New-York based Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, author and philanthropist.

2 Comments

  • I find this article extremely problematic, and it stands as a symbol for the close-mindedness of mainstream American views towards Israel. First of all, the championing of Israel’s democratic piety when contrasted with Arabs’ assumed barbarism is a racist and flawed argument. To say that a Jew would would be lynched for declaring messages of tolerance in an Arab country is to assume that all Arabs are fanatical murderers, with no decency towards democratic rights and common law. While the Middle East is not a bastion of democracy, and has experienced innumeral regimes and dictators, viewing Arab countries through the lens of a tit-for tat comparison of human rights with Israel is childish. This robs a complex conflict of its complexities, and reduces the way one can look at Arab-Israeli relations into one that relies on a belief in eternal and inexplainable anti-semitism.

    Secondly, the racism that Beitar Jerusalem fans display should not be looked at as an isolated case, but rather is only a part of a long history of racist and jingoistic rhetoric of the club’s supporters, and of right-wing Israeli rhetoric as a whole. The author asks why there no Jews on Arab soccer teams. Contrary to what the author writes, Jews in fact do play on Arab soccer teams, a fine example of many being Bnei Sakhnin. Soccer is a universal sport with important capability to cross cultures and mend sour relations between peoples. “Why is there no media coverage…about the fact that the Jewish state has so many Arab soccer teams,” the writer asks. Maybe it’s because Arab-Israelis are rightful citizens of the Jewish State and have every right to a soccer team in their communities.

    • comparing the reality of daily life conditions between countries is closed-minded? huh?

      didnt say no jews on arab teams – he said a lack of.

      try again

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports US & Canada Tom Brady: Best Part of My Summer Was Watching Julian Edelman Lather Himself in Mud at Dead Sea in Israel

    Tom Brady: Best Part of My Summer Was Watching Julian Edelman Lather Himself in Mud at Dead Sea in Israel

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may have been bogged down this offseason over the NFL’s “Deflategate” scandal, but he found unusual recourse in images of teammate Julian Edelman lathering his body with potent Dead Sea mud in Israel. Indeed, as Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski became the latest celebrity voice to offer directions on the Israeli-developed navigational app Waze, and wide receiver Matthew Slater happily got married, Brady has been facing legal issues after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed a four-game suspension for Brady as part of a ball-deflating scandal […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →