‘Kanye West!’: Jewish Basketball Players in Los Angeles Taunted During Game
by Dion J. Pierre
Chants of “Kanye West!” and pictures of swastikas and the Palestinian flag were used in Los Angeles on Saturday night to taunt Jewish female basketball players during a game between the Shalhevet Firehawks and the Buena Park Coyotes, according to local reports.
“I started to feel really unsafe,” an anonymous student of Shalhevet School, a Modern Orthodox preparatory academy, told the California-based Jewish Journal on Sunday. “The game got very hectic. When our girls were shooting foul shots, some Buena Park students held up pictures of swastikas on their phones to distract them.”
Others heckling at Jewish spectators created an “unsafe” environment, the student added, explaining that supporters of the Coyotes chanted “Kanye West” at a Shalhevet student and threatened a post-game brawl. After the match, which Shalhevet lost by four points, the confrontations continued outside the gymnasium, with “yelling and screaming at one another” and Buena Park students “showing the Palestinian flags on their phones.”
Rabbi David Block, Shalhevet’s Head of School, told the Jewish Journal that high school sports is often fraught with emotion.
“At the beginning, we all sang Hatikvah, and everybody was respectful,” he said. “I didn’t personally experience any antisemitism at the game, which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
Rabbi Block added that Shalhevet will soon hold an assembly “where students can express their feelings with out faculty, staff, and guidance counselors.”
Saturday’s game is the second sports related antisemitic incident in the last week.
On Wednesday night, a Jewish soccer player in Miami was assaulted on his home field by members of an opposing team from a Catholic high school. Footage of the incident shared on social media shows roughly five athletes from Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School — a high school in Miami — ambushing the student — who attends Scheck Hillel Community School. The group then knocks him to the turf and stomps him after he went down.
Both schools are jointly investigating the incident.
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