A Greek soccer player has been banned for life from playing for the national team after giving the Nazi salute during a game.
Giorgos Katidis, 20, who plays for the AEK Athens team, gave the salute after scoring the winning goal in a match on March 15, the same day Greek Jews marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jewish community to Auschwitz.
The Greek soccer federation on Sunday barred Katidis from playing for the national team for life, saying that the Nazi salute was a “severe provocation” and an insult to “all the victims of Nazi barbarity.”
Katidis, who used to play for a Thessaloniki team, claimed he was unaware of the meaning of the salute and apologized for his act. “I am not a racist,” he said in a message on Twitter.
In recent months Greece has seen an upsurge in such incidents with the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose members and leaders often give the salutes and employ other Nazi imagery
Speaking at a ceremony on Sunday to mark the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jews, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras vowed to take a harsher stance against neo-Nazis and racists.
The Palestinian Authority has buried another attempt to resurrect the peace process, this time rejecting President Shimon Peres’ proposal for a “peace process soccer game.”
The reason – if you are ready for this – might be funny if it were not true: The suggestion was made without consulting them.
President Peres and the Barcelona’s Barca soccer club president Sandro Rosell pitched the idea last week at a joint press conference.
“A soccer club is also a school. It is educational; it teaches our children to play together despite their difference,” declared the President. “Real peace is between people and not just between governments and as our children love Barcelona, so, too, do children in the Palestinian Authority.”
Rosell added, “We would like, with the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, to promote the idea of a football match for peace. We understand that peace will only be possible if we build confidence, respect and understanding between the two peoples.”
“The decision was made without consulting us. They think that it is our obligation to do what the masters of the region demand,” said a straight-faced Jibril Rajoub, director of the Palestinian Authority Football Association.
He made it clear that the idea was great. “This is a good and amazing idea which I love. I really think that sports and soccer can be used to build trust and create peace,” according to Rajoub. The problem apparently is that he did not think of it first.
Furthermore, he said the idea of Israel and PA Arabs playing on the same team against Barcelona is not feasible because “Israel does not even recognize us as a sporting entity.”
For the record, Peres did not demand that the PA side recognize Israel as a “Jewish team.” Rajoub could have seized on that as a precedent for not satisfying Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Instead, he complained that Israel blocked a FIFA official from arriving in Judea and Samaria and not allowing several PA soccer players to travel from Ramallah to Gaza.
“The “current atmosphere is not appropriate for a match like this,” he concluded in a gross understatement.
As in the diplomatic process, the Palestinian Authority has laid down conditions for the “peace process game.”
The Peres Peace Center still doesn’t give up. Its director Ido Sharir was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying, “The Palestinians have made requests, some more legitimate than others, and we are trying to deal with that. There are a lot of variables that are out of our control and can affect an initiative like this. But we have a good base [for arranging the match].”
The game is supposed to be played in July, although the question remains, “Which July?
Reminder: the “peace process” was supposed to have concluded several years ago.
President Shimon Peres and the head of the Barcelona soccer club announced on Thursday a special soccer match for peace that will include players from the Palestinian Authority.
President Peres told club president Sandro Rosell at a press conference, “I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to launch this project together. Your club motto is “Mes Que un club” and it’s true. Barca is ‘more than a club. It is a message. A message of togetherness. A message of friendship…
“A soccer club is also a school. It is educational; it teaches our children to play together despite their differences.”
He then turned to his vision of peace and stated, “Real peace is between people and not just between governments and as our children love Barcelona, so, too, do children in the Palestinian Authority.
Rosell announced, “Tomorrow, Friday, we are going to Ramallah to meet his excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority. We would like, with the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, to promote the idea of a football match for peace. We understand that peace will only be possible if we build confidence, respect and understanding between the two peoples. We believe with all our heart that a match involving Barca, with the collaboration of Israelis and Palestinians, can contribute to reestablish those links which are indispensable for people to live together peacefully.”
At the end of the statements President Peres and Rosell exchanged shirts, with President Peres receiving an FC Barcelona shirt with his name on the back and Rosell receiving a shirt with his name on the back from the PeresCenter for Peace.
Fans of the British soccer team the Tottenham Spurs were targeted by an apparent anti-Semitic attack at a pub in Lyon, France. The Spurs traditionally have had a large Jewish support base in London, which is sometimes referred to as the “Yid Army.”
Some 50 attackers entered the Smoking Dog on Wednesday night making a Nazi salute before smashing doors and throwing chairs and other objects.
There were about 150 Spurs fans in the pub, which is popular with British expatriates in France, according to the British newspaper The Guardian. Three Spurs fans were injured. A Lyon newspaper described the attackers as skinheads, the newspaper reported.
Tottenham was scheduled to play Olympique Lyonnais in a Europa League game on Thursday.
In November, some 50 assailants wielding cobblestones, metal bars and knives attacked British Spurs’ fans and trashed a pub in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori square. One British fan was stabbed in the incident.
Last night I was stuck in Jerusalem traffic (Jerusalem was designed to handle 400 vehicles, give or take a horse-drawn buggy, and is invaded each weekday by a million motorists), and because I always think of you, dear reader, my radio was tuned to Reshet Bet to catch the news (Kol Israel has a new news edition on the hour and the half hour, and if we’re not careful they’re perfectly ready to do minute 15 and 45, too). The 5 PM news had two items that would have made me fall off my seat laughing under normal conditions, and I’m not sure which one should be delivered first—my instinct says to go with the individual and move up to the group story.
Believe it or not, “Robbery by note” is a regular crime category in Israel. It involves a guy walking into a bank, presenting the teller with a note demanding a certain amount of money, and the teller gives it over.
Yes, it’s just like the bank robbery scene from Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run.”
Yesterday, in Ashdod, the robber’s note read: “This is a robbery.” He passed this note to a bank teller in the city’s A Quarter. The teller handed over to the robber—whom he assumed was armed, but that part is not at all clear—the amount of money he had on hand, and soon after, the robber disappeared.
Estimates are that the robber walked away with tens of thousands of shekels, which is a very good pay for writing such a short note. I mean, for that kind of money I’d expect several typed pages with an executive summary, but I would be wrong.
On January 29, the same thing took place in the city of Lod, where the robber submitted a written request for 20 thousand shekels, the teller happened to have that amount on hand, placed it in a handsome envelope and gave it to the man.
It was all shot on a smartphone by a waiting customer and shown on Channel 10 News.
So that’s one great way of making a living from writing in Israel.
THE WAGES OF RACISM
On Thursday, three days before the soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and the team representing the Arab town of Sakhnin, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, and the Israel Sports Betting Board, transferred to Beitar the amount of 200 thousand shekels to help the team with its action against violence and racism that have recently exploded among some fans—in reaction to the addition of two Muslim players from Chechnya (Chech players?) Zaor Sdayeb and Jibril Kdayeb.
As you may recall, several Beitar Jerusalem fans expressed their firm objection to the addition of non-Jewish players to their favorite team by carrying a huge sign, big enough to be seen by the NY Times, with the immortal phrase: “Beitar Pure Forever.”
Yes, if you’re thinking “How Aryan is that?” your parents haven’t wasted all that Hebrew day school tuition money for naught.
But now, as it turns out, writing those three words on a banner and raising that banner in full view of the world media (which, I’ll admit, is harder than just jotting a note and handing it to a teller) can yield a very nice return on your efforts. I mean, that’s better than $50 thousand for one afternoon’s work. It even beats robbing banks, where you have to schlep from one bank to another with your note before you can put together that kind of cash.
Emanuel Sheffer, the soccer coach who led Israel to the only World Cup finals in which it has ever participated, died on Friday at the age of 88.
Sheffer was the coach of the Israeli team when it competed in the World Cup finals Mexico in 1970, and led Israel to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games two years before in 1968.
Sheffer fled from Poland to Russia before World War II, ultimately returning to Poland to establish a Jewish-only soccer team which was later closed by the Communists. He immigrated to Israel in 1950 and played for Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Kfar Sava before beginning his coaching career.
Fans of a popular British soccer club spewed anti-Semitic taunts and chants at fans of a second British club whose fans are sometimes referred to as the “Yid Army.”
West Ham United fans on Sunday sang anti-Semitic songs about Adolf Hitler to supporters of the home team, the Tottenham Hotspurs, and referred to the stabbing last week in Italy of a Spurs fan by a West Ham fan.
“Can we stab you every week?” and “Adolf Hitler’s coming to get you,” the West Ham Fans chanted during the game.
The Spurs traditionally have had a large Jewish support base in London.
The Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s watchdog group on anti-Semitism and hate crimes, and its security agency called on the Football Association, the governing body of soccer in England, to take action in the wake of the anti-Semitic chanting.
The Community Security Trust sits on the Football Association’s working group tackling Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Football. The Trust plans to introduce a discussion on how campaigns against racism in soccer can be fully extended to include anti-Semitism.
“The days of English football crowds making mass monkey noises are thankfully gone, but massed anti-Semitic chanting about Hitler and gassing was clearly heard yesterday from a loud section of West Ham fans,” said Community Security Trust spokesman Mark Gardner. “We have heard such abuse against Spurs before and it risks seriously compromising the work against racism at all levels of the game.”
Several people at the match and others who heard about the chants via the media lodged complaints with the Trust.