Israeli and Argentinian Americans Sport Unity After Scrapping Jerusalem Game
JNS.org – The Israeli-American Council’s Las Vegas branch held a friendly match with its Argentinian counterpart in a display of unity and friendship, following the cancellation of an Israeli-Argentinian soccer match in Jerusalem earlier this month.
The June 9 friendly match in Jerusalem was canceled by the Argentinians after a campaign of death threats, harassment and other provocations targeting Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi.
The match in Las Vegas – which was organized and sponsored by Meir Cohen, president of the Las Vegas Sportspark and Las Vegas Indoor Soccer, and Fernando Sabbadini, leader of the Argentinian-American soccer club – sought to counter that negative BDS-driven campaign through a friendly soccer game on June 17.
The event featured the singing of the Israeli, Argentinian and American national anthems; the flying of those nations’ flags throughout the venue; games to engage the audience; and the presentation of a “community spirit trophy” to the Israeli team, which won the match 6-3.
“I hope our next game can be in Jerusalem,” said Sabbadini. “And I hope the following game can be in Buenos Aires,” replied Cohen. He continued, “Soccer is the people’s game … it is an international language that we will continue to speak without fear.”
“While the IAC is not a sports organizer, we believe that the Israeli-American community can play a leading role in countering those who seek to demonize Israel and exclude it from the family of nations,” said Noa Peri-Jensch, the IAC’s Las Vegas regional director. “All countries regularly host international sporting events in their capitals. It is sad that Israel remains the exception to the rule.”