Written by Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht
The sports network ESPN reported Friday May 29, that the Palestinians have removed their request to have Israel suspended from FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).
This comes after weeks of shameless and brazen attacks upon Israeli Soccer teams and the people of Israel directed and organized by the PLO and their Central and South American cohorts and aided and abetted by the European Union members who have joined the chorus for censoring Israel at every conceivable forum and venue.
Locally, in Westport CT a pair of self-proclaimed and clearly misguided human rights activists disrupted and terrorized a luncheon of woman who gathered in support of Israel at a local Temple. One of them even had the temerity to claim in a letter to the Minuteman Newspaper that he had a right, nay, an obligation, to call Israel out, for its policy’s and mistreatment (sic) of minorities within its jurisdiction. Clearly this young man who claims to be of Jewish heritage, has been brainwashed all too well by the anti-Semitic agenda camouflaged as being anti-Zionist that is so popular and in vogue on Colleges and Universities throughout America.
As an aside, this is something that our own in-house educational leadership may have helped engender over the decades with incessant criticism of Israel heard from the pulpit time and time again. Although there are problems in Israel as in every place in the world – the personal attacks on its leadership, the religious status quo and policies of Israel’s need for self-defense have engendered a very serious problem amongst young Jewish people to believe and adopt the anti-Zionist rhetoric being promulgated by the enemies of the Jewish people. It is for this reason that I’m careful and mindful not to criticize publicly matters that may be effectively attended to quietly and behind the scenes.
Returning to FIFA and the terrible press they received this week in the world of sports and ethics. The US Justice department made arrests this past Tuesday and in Zurich arrests were made at the opulent Baur au Lac Hotelwhere nine FIFA officials were arrested for bribes and racketeering to the tune of 120,000,000 going back to 1990. Yes indeed, the very paradigm of fairness and morality FIFA, an organization that has taken up the cudgel and hatchet, to strike Israel from the FIFA community of nations has been publicly humiliated and roundly sanctioned by both the USA and the International community for being immoral, unfair and dishonest in its administering of contracts and broadcast rights etc.
Rule number one in Soccer, is that any part of the body except for the hands may be utilized in playing the game. Now FIFA has shown to be the proverbial Emperor that has no clothes!
They have been caught red-handed and have been flashed the referee’s “red-card” for their blatant disregard for not keeping their hands clean in promoting this much beloved sport. One has to believe there is a G-d in Heaven watching over His children Israel and the Jewish People the world over.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly defended his nation earlier this month, writing on his Facebook page that the dispute “stems from their very objection to our existence.”
The Israeli leader said: “If FIFA harms Israel, it will be harming itself. Other countries, too, will use FIFA to settle scores with their adversaries, and instead of the spirit of international sport that is supposed to transcend politics, we will get the destruction of soccer.”
Indeed wise words that I agree with fully. FIFA should get its act together. Stop picking on Israel and clean up your own organization. FIFA should know that its letters may also represent For Israel For America. The quicker they understand that you cannot just kick Israel around the better off the sport of Soccer and the world will be.
* Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht is a member of the Presidium of the Igud Harabanim – the Rabbinical Alliance of America