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...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.