Israel’s racist football club


A new and excellent 15-minute documentary by the American cable television network ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, aired last week on ESPN’s award-winning primetime sports show E:60, sheds light on the Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem. Fans of Beitar Jerusalem, a member of Israel’s Premier League and enjoys a large fan base in and around Jerusalem, are well known for their notorious racism and ultra-nationalism.

During and after their football matches, Beitar Jerusalem fans are likely to be chanting chants like “Death to Arabs” as a form of celebration. Earlier in March this year, a mob of Beitar Jerusalem fans attacked Arab shoppers and workers in Jerusalem’s Malha Mall which is next to Teddy Stadium, Beitar Jerusalem’s home stadium. This football club in specific has never had any Arab player on its ranks and, judging from ESPN’s report, doesn’t seem intent to enlist any player of non-Jewish origin.

Two Palestinian citizens of Israel who play on Israeli teams describe to ESPN the racism and violence they are subjected to by Beitar fans. Alaa Abu Saleh, who plays for Bnei Sakhnin, says “It’s like war.” ESPN’s footage includes video of Beitar fans who have a special chant for footballer Salim Tuama:

This is the Jewish state!

This is Israel, Salim Tuama!

I hate all the Arabs!

I hate you Salim Tuama!

I hate all the Arabs!

The documentary, which opens with a disclaimer warning viewers of disturbing content, also shows small children chanting “Death to the Arabs!” after a Beitar practice.

* From Jalal’s blog on Electronic Intifada

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