Beitar Jerusalem Burns (Soccer Racism and Political Cannibalism)


Historically, the soccer team Beitar Jerusalem is and remains one of the most glaring sites of anti-Arab racism in Israel. Going back to the 1930s (?), all the major sports teams in Israel were once attached to political parties, Beitar Jerusalem being the sports club of the rightwing Revisioninsts. Of late, there has been a huge uproar among fans in response to the decision to sign up two Muslim players from Chechnya. A fan or a group of fans want to keep Beitar so “pure” that they decided to burn down the club’s headquarters. As reported in the New York Times, destroyed in the fire were “trophies, commemorative jerseys of former stars, championship flags, photographs and books. ‘All the history of Beitar Jerusalem,’ said the team spokesman, Asaf Shaked.”  Deep rage and racism drives the members of an organization to destroy with such blinding hatred the entire historical, material record of their own tribe. Is this a sign of things to come, the self-destruction of the Israeli right?

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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