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Friday, February 01, 2013

Jodi Rudoren gets suckered

To read Jodi Rudoren in Friday's New York Times, you'd think the only problem between Jews and Arabs is racism.
“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” chanted the notoriously aggressive fans of the home team, Beitar Jerusalem.
The visitors from Umm al-Fahm, an Arab-Israeli town, had their own provocations. “With blood and fire, we will liberate Palestine,” they called in Hebrew.
The angry, defiant exchanges that punctuated Tuesday night’s unusually tense game here came amid intense protests by Beitar Jerusalem supporters over the team owner’s plans to recruit two Muslim players from Chechnya. Some young men had unfurled a banner at the previous game declaring “Beitar pure forever,” which reminded many here of Nazi Germany’s purging of Jews from athletics in 1933 and prompted statewide discussion about racism on and off the field.
“People in Israel usually try to locate Beitar Jerusalem as some kind of the more extreme fringe; this is a way to overcome the embarrassment,” said Moshe Zimmermann, a historian at Hebrew University who specializes in sports. “The fact is that the Israeli society on the whole is getting more racist, or at least more ethnocentric, and this is an expression.”
Reaction to the purity banner, perhaps the most controversial in a series of Beitar outbursts, was swift. One of the fans who made the sign was arrested and banned from games for the season. Fifty more were barred from Tuesday’s match, along with banners of all kinds, and the team was fined about $13,500, amid concerns that the episode could threaten Israel’s scheduled hosting of a European Under 21 soccer tournament in June.
What's wrong with this picture? Lots. For starters, Beitar's fans don't exactly reflect Israel's general public. For seconds, where else in the world are fans arrested for unfurling a banner? Third, why did the Beitar fans get into trouble while the Um-el-Fahm fans did not (their chant has been the chant of Arab terror organizations for decades)? And why does his incident rate more coverage than much more violent incidents involving attacks on Israeli teams playing in Turkey, France, Bosnia and Sweden over the past few years?

And as to  her expert, Moshe Zimmermann, he is a professor of German History, with no mention of sports in his Wikipedia profile. On his Hebrew U profile, sports is the last interest listed. It fits with nothing else in his profile.

And by  the way, Rudoren neglects to mention what Zimmerman is best known for in Israel. It was Zimmerman who likened the IDF to Nazis.

Maybe he was looking for an excuse to attack Israeli society?

Much, much more here.

Shabbat Shalom.

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