Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Tom Gross has an excellent article in the NRO pointing out FIFA's hypocrisy in condemning Israel's strike on an empty football pitch used by Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade for training exercises, whilst keeping schtum over a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli football pitch. The former was performed when the pitch was empty; the latter wasn't and caused at least one casualty.

When even FIFA is vilifying Israel, you know something's rotten in the state of Denmark.
Israel is used to being singled out for unjust criticism and subjected to startling double standards by the United Nations, the European Union, much of the Western media and numerous academic bodies. But now FIFA — the supposedly nonpolitical organization that governs the world's most popular sport, soccer — is getting in on the act as well.

FIFA has condemned Israel for an air strike on an empty soccer field in the Gaza Strip that was used for training exercises by Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. This strike did not cause any injuries. But at the same time FIFA has refused to condemn a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli soccer field last week which did cause injuries.


In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Jerome Champagne, FIFA's deputy general secretary, who had personally condemned the attack on the Palestinian soccer pitch, refused to extend a similar condemnation to the attack on the Israeli pitch.
Jerome Champagne? Surely a Mills and Boon character.

But of course, this singling out of Israel isn't antisemitic. How could it be? Get ready...
In response to some of this criticism Champagne — perhaps unaware of the phenomena of some radical Jews being at the forefront of whipping up hate against the Jewish state — wrote to the Jerusalem Post saying he couldn't possibly be biased against Israel because his wife was Jewish.
Well that's all right then.

Gross has done his homework on this one, picking up on a couple of cases where being Israeli prevented several players from joining the rest of their team training abroad:
In February, Tal Ben Haim — the Israeli national soccer team captain, who plays his club soccer for the English Premiership team Bolton Wanderers — was banned from joining his Bolton teammates for their training matches in Dubai. FIFA pointedly ignored this. So did Bolton despite the fact that the team claims to be among the leaders of the campaign to "Kick racism out of football" in the U.K.

Only last week, another English club, West Ham, left their two Israeli players, Yossi Benayoun and Yaniv Katan, at home when they went to Dubai. FIFA naturally had nothing to say. [Ed. But Norm did.]

Whilst Israel is often slandered as an "apartheid state," (despite having several Arabs playing in its national team), Dubai has received no criticism for what appears to be a clear "apartheid" policy.
Hmmm. So is the AUT's Sue Blackwell working for FIFA these days then? What a grim state of affairs.

There's one ray of light at the end of the article:
Not all is rotten in world soccer. Some individuals still seem to know right from wrong. Last week, Ronaldinho, the Brazilian superstar widely regarded as the best current player in the world, donated signed footballs and shirts to Israeli child suicide bomb survivors, saying he hoped his gifts would "warm the hearts of the children who have suffered so much."
Not just a pretty face then, eh?

EXTRA: I'm sure he's deadly serious, but Bart's comments from the JPost link (#17) made me chuckle:
17. Israelis Should Play Real Sports
Bart - USA
04/07/2006 15:04

Soccer isn't a sport for real men, only for effeminate Euros and Third Worlders, who can't afford sports equipment. Israelis should try American sports like baseball and football, perhaps mixed martial arts as well and leave soccer to lesser evolved humans.
If dressing up in wrestling lycra, helmets and shoulder pads that would shame Joan Collins is evolved, so be it. After all, what lesser evolved game would ever involve picking up one of your team-mates and throwing him across the goal-line to try to score?

Anyone else get the feeling from his "perhaps mixed martial arts as well" line, Bart might look a little like this?

Either way, I'm sure he's using the buddy system - no more flyin' solo...


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