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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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NYT: Fans Mirror Israel’s Racism—Ignores Europe’s Hate Stadiums

The offensive "purity" sign carried by a group Beitar Jerusalem fans.

The offensive "purity" sign carried by a group Beitar Jerusalem fans.
Photo Credit: Flash90

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The Wiesenthal Center’s Cooper responded to The Jewish Press, “to extrapolate from the rowdy and unforgivable behavior of Beitar sports fans to suggest racism is dripping in the streets of Jerusalem is absurd.”

Nidal Othman is the second “expert” used by the NYT, and the one from whom the word “mirror” was lifted to place in the headline.  Othman is a lawyer for the Mossawa Center in Israel, and director of the Coalition Against Racism in Israel (CARI).

The Mossawa Center is perhaps best known in the west for a document it produced in 2007.  That document proclaimed that Israel is an inherently racist state, and that the Israeli flag and Israeli national anthem had to be scrapped because they are racist.  In addition, the Mossawa Center demanded that all Israeli schools teach students that 1948 was “al Nakba,” the Disaster, because of the creation of the Jewish State in the Middle East.

Othman is quoted in the NYT article, “When talking about Beitar, it’s actually showing a mirror for the Israeli society.”  He also says of Israel, “”The political leaders and the religious leaders of the community are feeding the society with different racist incitements – against Arabs at all, against Muslims at all and against different groups in Israel.”

The website mission statement of Othman’s organization states that it seeks “to decrease racism in Israel, ” and to “delegitimize racism in all its forms.”  But its site  doesn’t mention a single incident of anti-Semitism or of Arab terrorism against Jews.  Nonetheless, Othman is described in the article as a civil and human rights advocate.

While the NYT mentioned the imposition of a fine for the Beitar fans’ behavior, it suggested the punishment was only  imposed due to “concerns that the episode could threaten Israel’s scheduled hosting of a European Under 21 soccer tournament in June.”  The article neglected to mention that there had already been a racist outcry concerning the European Under 21 Soccer tournament.  The racism in that case, however, was by European anti-Israel soccer fans who were protesting against the playing of any tournament games in Israel.

And that isn’t the only anti-Israel, anti-Semitic exhibitions by European soccer fans of late.  There have been athletic events marred by violence, hatred, Nazi-imagery and loud protests across Europe, from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Holland.  Yet the vile behavior of those fans is not held up by the NYT as a mirror of Europe as a whole.

The NYT article does more than simply rely on Israelis who consider it their professional calling to label Israel as racist.  It also does not quote anyone from the other side to counter that claim.

Not one of the experts, officials and laymen who are quoted in the NYT article about the Beitar fans, offers a different position than the apparent premise of the article: Israel is just as racist as its worst sports fans.

But perhaps the headline was – however intentionally – correct, as a mirror’s reflection always reverses reality.

Instead of a mirror reflection, the NYT Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren should have been attempting to portray reality.  Had the article also included the views of all the Israeli officials, team players, the owner and the citizens who reject racism – a flaw they  recognize and want to defeat – the story and its headline would not have presented such a distorted view of reality.

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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11 Responses to “NYT: Fans Mirror Israel’s Racism—Ignores Europe’s Hate Stadiums”

  1. Cecil Habib says:

    Has anyone mentioned the abuse hurled at Israeli players in other countries?

  2. Judith Apter Klinghoffer says:

    How many people around the world are aware that Muslims routinely play on Israeli soccer teams? To be honest, I was surprised that Beitar is such an exception. The opposite is certainly not the case. Indeed, I would like someone to look into how many Jews or Christians play soccer on Muslim country teams.

  3. Ron Kall says:

    Just typical of the hate Israel media. People are slaughtered at soccer games in Europe and South America and recently 80 dead in Egypt. Worry about that first. Some Jews are tired of being targeted for death by the muslim world and this is how they (inappropriately) show their anger. But Jews condemn this anyway, not so hate Jews rhetoric etc from muslims countries!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It has to be recognized, understood and widely reported that the NYT is not about objectivity when it comes to Israel and the Jews. It's about propagating and reinforcing its narrative. Jews are racist, hate mongering, perpetrators of evil and violence against Palestine indiscriminately murdering Palestinian innocents with no provocation. Muslims are innocent victims of undeserved violence and hatred under constant attack by the Zionists and their Zionist supporters.

    Has a fervent, heart rending, gut wrenching ring to it but it's a lot of crap requiring constant attention to maintain. No one should be surprised at this other than that is occurring with increasing frequency and perhaps urgency. In these modern days and the ubiquity of the Internet, the lie is becoming increasingly difficult to disguise.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It has to be recognized, understood and widely reported that the NYT is not about objectivity when it comes to Israel and the Jews. It's about propagating and reinforcing its narrative. Jews are racist, hate mongering, perpetrators of evil and violence against Palestine indiscriminately murdering Palestinian innocents with no provocation. Muslims are innocent victims of undeserved violence and hatred under constant attack by the Zionists and their Zionist supporters.

    Has a fervent, heart rending, gut wrenching ring to it but it's a lot of crap requiring constant attention to maintain. No one should be surprised at this other than that is occurring with increasing frequency and perhaps urgency. In these modern days and the ubiquity of the Internet, the lie is becoming increasingly difficult to disguise.

  6. Andy Bendzin says:

    The one thing wrong about this, in a Muslim society this would be normal. Why do we try so hard to please the West. I'm not advocating racism. But as long as the Muslims are racist against the Jews and as long as Israel cannot live in peace, we shouldn't worry too much what other countries say. Yes take care of behavior like that but don't worry too much about it. Israel is doing okay and it's one of the most accepting countries in all of the Middle East if not the world.

  7. Andy Bendzin says:

    The one thing wrong about this, in a Muslim society this would be normal. Why do we try so hard to please the West. I'm not advocating racism. But as long as the Muslims are racist against the Jews and as long as Israel cannot live in peace, we shouldn't worry too much what other countries say. Yes take care of behavior like that but don't worry too much about it. Israel is doing okay and it's one of the most accepting countries in all of the Middle East if not the world.

  8. Israel by extension of the Jewish people is supposed to be a light unto the world. While it's newsworthy that there's another story Jewish Press posted about Italian soccer players honoring a Jewish coach martyred in the Shoa, European Soccer (sorry from my USA perspective Football is played in the Super Bowl) madness is well known. It's not newsworthy, and they drink in the Xenophobia with their mothers' milk. It's irrelevant what happens in other nations, there is a part of Israeli society that has to look itself critically in the eye while maintaining standards of mentschichkeit. Perhaps all nations can look to North American professional sports who understand community relations and strive to field the best teams from all talent available.

  9. Andy Bendzin says:

    "American" Fottball that is. The rest of the world calls it Football or Fussball. :-)

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