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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Who's a racist?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus got into a Twitter debate with Alu Abunimah in the wee hours of Sunday morning over Beitar Jerusalem signing two Muslim soccer players from Chechnya.

I am reproducing the tweets below. Given that Abunimah posted an irrelevant comment and walked away, I would say that Lori won the debate.

There are a couple of tweets that did not come through. You can read the entire conversation here.

Oh and by the way, three Beitar fans were arrested at Saturday's game in Jerusalem for 'racist jeers.'
Police arrested three Betar Jerusalem soccer fans for racist jeering made at Saturday's game at the Teddy stadium in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported on Sunday.
The background for the racist flare up was the news that team owner Arkady Gaydamak intends to bring two Muslim Chechen players to the team. Referring to the practice of the team to recruit only Jewish players, the fans held signs that read "Betar is a pure team." 
Politicians in Israel who condemned the fans' behavior were quick to link the event to Sunday's marking of International Holocaust Memorial Day. 


Betar Jerusalem and its fans have a reputation for being intolerant. Team owner Arkady Gaydamak said that there is no conflict between the Jews and the Muslims in Chechnya and warned against painting all of the fans with the same racist brush. "The absolute majority of Betar supporters... are against the anti-Muslim provocation."
Gaydamak said that the racist outbursts made him more determined to bring the two Muslim players to Betar. However, one of the two players has already indicated that he would not come to play for a team whose fans do not respect its players' beliefs.  
I agree that what those 'fans' did was wrong, but as someone who grew up under the US rules of freedom of speech, I have a problem with people being arrested for holding up a sign at a soccer game. This isn't exactly yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater....

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At 11:00 PM, Blogger aaa said...

When your beliefs hold that people are descended from apes and pigs, I guess it's OK not to respect it.

At 3:05 AM, Blogger violet said...

The point that should be made is that in Israel, people issuing racist jibes are arrested. In Egypt, people issuing racist jibes are made president.


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