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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:30 PM

Israel president demands crackdown on racism in football

Shimon Peres calls for 'determined stance' after Beitar Jerusalem fans protest against plan to sign Muslim players


"Israel's president, Shimon Peres, has called on the country's football authorities to clamp down on racism after Beitar Jerusalem fans protested against the club's intention to sign two Muslim players.

Fans of the club, which has never hired an Israeli-Arab or Muslim player, raised a banner at a match at the city's Teddy stadium on Saturday reading "Beitar pure forever".

Peres wrote to the Israel Football Association on Tuesday: "Racism has struck the Jewish people harder than any other nation in the world … the entire country is shocked by this phenomenon and will never agree to come to terms with it." He called for the chairman to take a "determined stance" on racism in football.

The club's owner, Arcadi Gaydamak, said he would sign the two players from Terek Grozny, a Chechnyan Russian premier league team, despite the protest. Other Israeli clubs have, or have had, Arab and Muslim players.

Beitar fans are renowned for racist activity. In March hundreds went on a rampage at a shopping centre after a match and abused and assaulted Palestinian staff and customers. Police made no arrests."


Beitar’s racism has a long, inglorious history


Viciously protesting the planned signing of Muslim players was only the latest in a tradition of hate-filled displays by Jerusalem soccer fans


"Chants urging “Death to Arabs” and fans yelling “Death to Muslims” are only the peak of the racist volcano at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, home to the Beitar soccer team, one of the most political teams in the Israeli sporting scene.

On the night before Israel’s national elections last week, two outgoing legislators from the extreme right — Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad — attended Beitar’s game against Hapoel Tel Aviv in a last-minute attempt to gain support from those named by American sporting network ESPN as “the most dangerous fans” in Israeli soccer.

Beitar’s history is one of relative success in the sporting world. The team has won six championships and seven state cups, and since the 1970s it has been an almost-permanent fixture in the top part of the league’s standings.

Like many European sporting teams, the Jerusalem soccer club was established with a clear political affiliation — to Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Beitar movement. Historically, many of Israel’s right-leaning Likud party leaders were fans of the team, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud-Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister and ex-Likud member, was known to have a season ticket for the team’s home games.

A sign reading “Beitar forever pure” was held aloft by fans of Jerusalem’s largest soccer club on Saturday — the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day — as they protested the owner’s weekend decision to sign two Muslim players.

Stirring an outcry from politicians left and right, including Rivlin, the racist statements by the fans were the most recent display of the club’s anti-Arab, hawkish identity, but they came as no surprise to those who follow the Israeli sporting world."

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Reply Israel president demands crackdown on racism in football (Original post)
Scurrilous Jan 2013 OP
oberliner Jan 2013 #1
Mosby Jan 2013 #2
Scurrilous Jan 2013 #3
LeftishBrit Jan 2013 #4
R. Daneel Olivaw Jan 2013 #5
LeftishBrit Jan 2013 #6
Scootaloo Jan 2013 #7
Mosby Jan 2013 #8
Scurrilous Jan 2013 #9
oberliner Jan 2013 #10

Response to Scurrilous (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:34 PM

1. Glad that the Israeli president is addressing this issue.

Hopefully other world leaders will follow suit.

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Response to Scurrilous (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:53 PM

2. good that Perez is trying to do something

But here is my question:

Why does soccer attract so many racists?

My theory is that soccer is so mind numbingly boring that fans need to create drama in the form of discrimination and jingoistic displays. The British imo have made it like gang affiliation, where "fans" support one side or the other based on ethnicity etc.

As an American that loves basketball and other sports I just don't get soccer. IMO it makes europeans, latin americans and others look fucking nuts.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:14 PM

3. Saw this in the Sports forum:

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Response to Mosby (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:22 PM

4. I think it's more a matter of historical tradition

Traditionally - and what I'm going to say is somewhat stereotyped in itself - soccer has tended to attract white, young, somewhat disaffected, working class English males. While most people in any or all of the above categories are not members of racist groups, there's no doubt that it's a demographic to which most far-right racist groups try to appeal.

This is actually less true in the UK than it was. Both soccer fandom, and far-right politics, are getting more diverse than they were IMO. But there is still a certain tendency for soccer fans to be used by right-wing parties as a hunting-ground for recruitment.

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Response to Scurrilous (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 03:54 PM

5. That's great. Now if he could just crack down on Israeli expansionism


in the West bank.

On edit: some racism needs to be cracked down on more than others I guess.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:41 PM

6. He has criticized that too


If Peres were still Prime Minister (the president in Israel doesn't really have much political power), things might be a bit different IMO.

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Response to Scurrilous (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:13 PM

7. Yes, and?


It's nice that Peres made the statement, really. But what's that going to do?

Perhaps if the players expressed solidarity and walked off the fields, refused to play?

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:06 PM

8. That happened ONE time over decades

and I imagine there are thousands of games played in Europe every year. Clearly they don't want to deal with the racism problem, there is way too much MONEY involved.

Finally: Soccer Team Walks Off Field in Response to Racist Chants

Racism in European soccer is a relatively common, but players actually responding to those chants isn’t normal at all. For the most part, players ignore the racist European fans who are trying to rankle them and continue on with the match.


Though racism is a problem in many professional sports, soccer seems especially prone to it. During the summer’s Euro tournament, for example, fans threw bananas and yelled monkey noises during a game between Italy and Croatia. Three months ago, an English black player heard loud monkey chants at a youth tournament in Serbia, the New York Times reported. Last month, Russian soccer fans created a petition calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from a major team.


Soccer has a racism problem.

LONDON (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter has advised players encountering racial abuse during matches against walking off the pitch like AC Milan did last week.

Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led his Milan teammates off Thursday during a friendly against lower division club Pro Patria following racist chanting by fans.

The match was abandoned, but Blatter does not believe walking off is the best way to combat racism.

"Walk off? No. I don't think that is the solution," Blatter was quoted as saying on the website of Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper on Sunday.

"I don't think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match," he added. "This issue is a very touchy subject, but I repeat there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium."


Racism Is a "touchy subject" according to the FIFA President --- HOLY FUCK

Maybe pro soccer needs to go bye bye.

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Response to Scurrilous (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:11 PM

9. I won’t attend Beitar games - Ehud Olmert

Op-ed: Former PM Olmert disgusted by racist fans who oppose signing of Muslim, Arab players



"I have been a Beitar Jerusalem fan for decades. As someone who was born in "Shuni" (formerly a secret base of The Irgun where my parents lived with dozens of other Beitar movement couples) and educated in the Beitar youth movement, it was only natural that I would become a Beitar Jerusalem supporter.

I have accompanied the team for years, and in times of need I found sponsors who allowed the team to continue to operate. I was proud to be a Beitar supporter. Something in the simplicity of the fans' joy is exciting. The team has supporters all over the country. Many people who are involved in Israeli soccer say Beitar fans are vital to the competitive atmosphere. Wherever Beitar plays, the stadium is almost always full or nearly full and there is the sense that you are attending a thrilling event.

But all this cannot serve as an excuse for the group of racists who want a "Pure Beitar." Pure - meaning without Muslims or Arabs, a million of whom are citizens of the State of Israel."

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Response to Scurrilous (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:19 PM

10. Well done

Good on Mr. Olmert.

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