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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.