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Archive for the ‘anti-Semitism’ Category

 

And now, the rest of the story (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

To take a page from Paul Harvey (no relation to major Mets disappointment Matt)…

I have been majorly remiss in not reporting on anything but baseball. So let’s address that now.

NBA

Omri Casspi has laid up his final shot for the Warriors. (Photo: Facebook)Omri Casspi was waived by the Golden State Warriors just before the end of the regular season, thereby terminating his chance to make it into the playoffs. It’s not a stretch to say that the timing sucked. Casspi — the first Israeli to make it to the NBA — was a pretty good guy to have coming off your bench, regardless for whom he played. Obviously it was too late in the season for another team to pick him up, but here’s hoping we’ll see hime again next season. By the way, T.J. Leaf may be the first Israeli to make it to the post-season, but he’s not a MOT.

NHL

At this point, Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitols) and Brendon Leipsic (Las Vegas Knights) are the only two Jice-men still active.

Burakovsky — whose connection with Judaism has been an issue over the last couple of years (he claims he’s not Jewish but the Jewish Sports Review stands by their “ruling” that he is based on their qualifications) —  appeared in 56 games for the Caps (49-26-7, third in the Eastern Conference), putting 12 pucks in the net and assisting on a baker’s dozen. Washington leads the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one in their conference matchup. They beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, four games to two. In the next round, they put away the Pittsburgh Penguins, also 4-2.

Leipsic, a 23-year-old rookie, had five goals and 17 assists in 58 games for the amazingly successful expansion Knights, who ended their inaugural season with a mark of 51-24-7, good for third place in the West. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets in the Conference Finals at 1-1, having knocked out Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild in the first round. The Knights then ousted the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, in round two to move to the next-to-last step.

Zucker had an outstanding season for the Wild (45-26-11, fourth in the Western Conference). He appeared in all 82 games and led all Jewish players in goals (33) and assists (31). Zucker did not put up a point in the series with the Jets. He is also a finalist in the running for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to “the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Zucker and his wife, Carly, raised funds for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, a space that allows children and their families to watch Wild games in a game-like setting. They donated $160,000 to start the project, and also contributed $1,600 for each goal Zucker, who wears No. 16, scored (33) this season. In seven months, the project has raised more than $900,000.

Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs made great leaps over the last two seasons. They came in at 49-26-11, fourth in the East. Compare that with 29-42-11 in 2015-16 and 40-27-15 last year. They were eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

Michael Cammalleri — at 35 the senior statesman among Jewish NHLers — appeared in a total of 66 games, split between the LA Kings (15 games, three goals, four assists) and Edmonton Oilers (51 games, 4/18), to whom he was traded in mid-November. The Kings finished in the seventh spot in the West with a record of 45-29-8. They were swept by the Knights in the first round. The Oilers were pretty awful, however, 36-40-6, eighth in the West.

Jason Demers appeared in 69 games for the Arizona Coyotes  (29-41-12, last in the West), contributing six goals and 14 assists.

Jakob Chychrun, also a member of the Coyotes, had his share of injuries, appearing in just 50 games with four goals and ten assists.

Josh Ho-Sang was a lightning rod for the NY Islanders this year. For some reason, he was constantly in the news, an indicator of why the team was doing poorly, even though he scored twice and assisted on 12 in just 22 games. He spent most of the year with the AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Some said he had a bad work ethic, a bad attitude, etc. Others say he was injured and didn’t want to let on. Let’s just hope for better times ahead. The Isles finished 11th in the East at 35-37-10.

NFL

Not much to report since the Arizona Cardinals selected Josh Rosen as their No. 1 pick (10th overall) in the NFL draft, much to the former UCLA QB’s annoyance. And that annoyance has stirred up something that may or may not be there, as far as anti-Semitic sentiments go. Tablet Magazine took a tongue-in-cheek approach in this piece.

Image result for josh rosen, anti-semitism

Despite the JSR’s declaration that Rosen meets their requirements, this piece from The New Yorker would seem to go against the one about not identifying with another religion. According to the article by Zach Helfand, “Rosen is the son of a Jewish father and a Quaker mother. He had a bar mitzvah but attended a Catholic high school, where he went to weekly mass and gave confession twice a semester.” So unless that confession thing was just going through the motions…

BTW, the question of religious identity is always tricky. A Jewish lad might have a bar mitzvah (although I guess “having” one is a moot point since it’s automatic) but later decide to convert. A Nazi might say, once a Jew, always a Jew. I leave this issue to more enlightened and educated minds.

As for the handful of other JFLers:

  • Ali Marpet preparing for a new position on the O-Line?
  • The NY Giants waived Adam Bisnowaty, who never made it to the official roster. UPDATE: Since posting this earlier today, news came down that he was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
  • Also around: Mitchell Schwartz, KC Chiefs, of whom great things are expected next season; and Nate Ebner (New England Patriots), who will be coming back from a season-sending injury.

MSL

Soccer. Ugh.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know my antipathy for the sport. Too much running around with nothing to show for it. Too much moving back and forth of players between teams and leagues. Too much time between games. Zzzzzz. But in the interest of fair play, I should mention the few Jews in the Major Soccer League. Thanks to the folks at JSR and Bob Wechsler for doing the leg work on this.

According to their calculating, these are the Jews of the MSL (standings as of this writing):

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (1-5-2, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (6-2-2, second in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (3-6-1, ninth in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (2-5-2, 11th — but not last — in West. That’s another thing: 23 teams in the league? They couldn’t have found one more to make things easy?)

Wechsler added in his email on the topic:

  • Andrew Jacobson of Vancouver and Zach Pfeffer of Colorado have retired.
  • Jonathan Spector of Orlando does not identify as Jewish. His Jewish grandfather was Art “Speed” Spector, was the first player ever signed by the Boston Celtics.
  • Kyle Beckman of Real Salt Lake is listed as Jewish in many sources. He recently married a woman in a Greek Orthodox ceremony. From what I hear, you must be willing to be ID’d as Greek Orthodox in order to participate in its wedding ceremony.

So there you have it, folks. I know there are several items I’ve neglected, such as Soren Thompson‘s upcoming induction into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, and for that my apologies. I hope to do better in the future.

In the meantime, don’t forget about my most recent book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, in this, the 80th anniversary of that special season.

Lest we forget: Margaret Bergmann-Lambert

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Margaret Bergmann-Lambert, the champion high-jumper who was banned by Hitler’s Germany from competing in the 1936 Olympics, died yesterday at the age of 103.

She achieved new notoriety several years ago when the Olympics were held once again in Germany

Ira Berkow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, wrote her obituary for The New York Times which noted “Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in the 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.”

 

Deutschland Leichtathletik Gretel Bergmann (picture-alliance/dpa)

Mish-Mashing (Trying to catch up)

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Things have been a bit hectic of late, what with looking for a new job and dealing with the release of the new book. So here’s a quick look back and what we (meaning I) have missed over the last several days.

World Baseball Classic update, March 2

Posted on: March 2nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

As the various teams start to get together in preparation for the World Baseball Classic, here’s what’s doing with Team Israel, as well as the JMLs who have plighted their trough elsewhere.

  • Ian Kinsler wants to win, just not for the Israeli team apparently.
  • Lincoln Mitchell, author of Will Big League Baseball Survive?: Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball, contributed this piece to the Forward, asking “Is The World Baseball Classic An Error For The Jews?” While I enjoyed his book, I take issue with some of his assertions which seem to be based on his claim that “there happen to be no Jewish players on the American team,” which is simply not true. In addition to Kinsler, Houston Astros’ sophomore Alex Bregman is on the USA roster. I also take exception to his statement that “because the US team is much better than the Israeli team, the WBC will give some credence to the tired and offensive notion that Jews stink at sports or other physical activities.” On the other hand, there is merit to his concern that allowing American Jews to play for Israel “provides fodder for those who believe that Jews are not quite true Americans and are more loyal to Israel than to the US. During a time when the President of the United States promotes the old anti-Semitic slogan, ‘America First,’ this is something that cannot be ignored.” There are lots of players in the WBC who will be playing for the countries of their ancestry but only Israel seems to bring up that loyalty issue. Can you imagine a Major Leaguer on Team Jamaica being accused of dual loyalties?
  • Team Israel held a mini-camp in Scottsdale recently.

 

Soccer anti-Semitism, take 827

Posted on: January 25th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

There’s nothing new under the sun:

Antisemitic chants caught on film before Manchester City’s match against Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City teams walk out prior to the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium last Saturday.

What’s with the attitude about Ryan Braun?

Posted on: December 21st, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

Another story about how the decision-makers are turning up their noses when it comes to possibly making a deal for the Hebrew Hammer? From a recent story on SB Nation:

The PED issue is tricky, as it’s not as if Braun has been any worse since coming back from his suspension to finish the 2013 season. On the contrary, he’s been one of the best outfielders in baseball at the plate. This seems more like a PR headache than anything else. Fans around the league are still largely hostile towards Braun, and GMs notice that sort of things. Milwaukee is understandably asking for a lot in return for their superstar, but other teams don’t seem willing to pay for that kind of PR hit, particularly when there are plenty of other options available. Braun should’ve been one of the hottest trade pieces of the winter, but now it seems he could finish his career in Milwaukee after all.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Ryan BraunI added the emphasis because I’d like to know why Braun earns special animosity. There have been a few cases of other players who have served suspensions but came back to lead lives as relatively model citizens. Perhaps it was because Braun was so adamant about his innocence, go so far as to call a press conference to proclaim his innocence when his appeal against MLB was upheld. Yeah, okay, that might not have been a sterling moment. Perhaps if he had just kept his mouth shut, it would have died down. But when you stick a finger in your bosses’ collective eye, well, then it becomes a battle of wills.

But you have someone like Aroldis Chapman who was suspended for a month because for a domestic violence situation and I haven’t seen too much in terms of long-lasting bad feelings such as we’re hearing about Braun. Not that I would wish this on anyone, but when a Jew is involved, some of us more conspiracy theorists wonder if there’s not something deeper behind it.

Two thumbs down to the New York Times

Posted on: December 12th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

Each Friday I like to wrap up the entries for the JTA Sports page on Facebook with something cultural: a film, a book, etc.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2dMD2XZzv2s/S_lOdbwuLHI/AAAAAAAABvw/rA6FjNoNR4Q/s320/fonzie_thumbs_down.jpgLast week it was a story about On the Map, a documentary about the Israeli national team beating the much-ballyhooed Russian team for the European basketball championship in 1977. In included the review by Glenn Kenny in The New York Times, which I described as less than charitable.

For example: “On the downside, this is an almost relentlessly partisan portrait: Not one player or coach from a team that opposed the Maccabi is interviewed.” “Partisan?” Of course it is. Just about every film takes a stand, one way or the other. And the fact that they didn’t interview the losers? Perhaps a word or two of congratulations from some opponents would have been nice, but I don’t see anything particularly propagandist about the omission.

The four-paragraph critiques ends:

The title has a double meaning; taken from a comment from Brody after a crucial victory, it refers to a time when both Israel and Israeli basketball were announcing that they were here to stay. The movie makes no attempt to engage any current situation, basking instead in a one-dimensional nostalgia.

Let us parse that last sentence.

“The movie makes no attempt to engage any current situation, basking instead in a one-dimensional nostalgia.”

  1. Why should it engage in the “current situation”? It’s a documentary about a specific event that took place almost 40 years ago. If someone produces a movie about the 1986 Mets, would they include anything about the current team?
  2. “one-dimensional nostalgia.” Again, we’re talking about, sorry to repeat it, an event that took place almost 40 years ago. So, yes, nostalgia.
  3. Shut up.

Seems I wasn’t the only one who took issue with Kenny’s critique.

Canadian football team signs player who called Jews ‘devils’

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Khalif MitchellA Canadian football team has signed a player who tweeted anti-Semitic messages even after being fined in 2015 for doing so.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League signed lineman Khalif Mitchell Wednesday, drawing criticism from a Canadian Jewish group.

“We are deeply troubled that Mitchell is continuing to spread messages of hate against the Jewish people,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, according to The Toronto Sun. “Clearly, Mitchell has not learned from his past mistakes. We have engaged with the CFL and the Saskatchewan Roughriders and they have assured us they are investigating.

In May 2015, the CFL fined Mitchell, a Virginia native, for sharing anti-Semitic posts on Twitter. One of his posts included a link to a YouTube video that called the Holocaust “The Greatest Lie Ever Told.”

The following month, Mitchell was released from his team, the Montreal Alouettes.

But Mitchell has has since called Jews “devils posing as God’s people” and referred to late Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel as a “thief of the holy people” on Twitter, according to a July report. He has also made derogatory comments about people of Chinese descent, according to the Sun.

CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said Thursday in a statement that the organization would monitor Mitchell closely and that any further comments “will result in his immediate dismissal.”

On Thursday, Mitchell called reactions to the tweets “far-fetched” and claimed he was researching his own “Hebrew Semitic” heritage. He said his mother and father are from the “tribes” of “Juda” and Benjamin, respectively.

“I just think a lot of the reaction was based off a lot of misinterpretations about myself that were far-fetched,” he said. “A lot people look at me as someone the media portrayed as an anti-Semitic type of person. All I was doing was finding my own Hebrew Semitic backgrounds and my own source of where I’m from.”

Mitchell’s Twitter account has since been made private.

Sour grapes?

Posted on: August 23rd, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

This, from the JTA. Unless Israel was the only country subjected to the “poor training conditions,” this comes across as just whining. I must admit, I don’t keep up with the serpentine world of rhythmic gymnastics, so I don’t know all the intrugue that goes on. But isn’t the “politics,” as inappropriate as it might be, a part of any sports organization?

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics coach raps Olympic politics, poor training conditions

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The coach of Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team said she never expected to win a medal, citing poor training conditions and politics as two reasons.

Ira Vigdorchik, whose contract with the national team expired at the end of the Olympics, told Israel’s Channel 2 that since Israel does not have a judge in the International Gymnastics Federation, there is no “neutralization of subjectivity.”

“Even if we were to do it without any mistakes, there is no chance to bring back a medal from the Olympic Games,” she said.

The team, which won a gold medal in the hoops and clubs discipline at the European Championships in June, finished sixth in the team competition in Rio on Sunday. Russia won the gold medal; Spain and Bulgaria tied for the silver.

Parents of the gymnasts have accused Vigdorchik of abusing team members verbally and physically, and drinking alcohol during training and competitions.

“I never changed how I looked at the girls, I never spoke to them or treated them differently. Everything in terms of training, attitude, belief and desire did not change” in the wake of the accusations, she told Channel 2.

Vigdorchik told Israel’s Channel 10 that her team’s poor training conditions at the Wingate Institute in central Israel prepared them for their practice in a “hot and wet tent” in Rio. She said all the teams that finished ahead of Israel in the final standings trained in the main gymnastics pavilion.

 

Did the punishment really fit the crime?

Posted on: August 16th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

With the way stories get reported these days, you almost have to preface everything with “if this is true….” The current state of media demands instant reporting, even if all the facts aren’t in yet. Then people react to those events on Facebook or twitter or other social media withat necessarily having all the facts.

So in that vein, if this is true

Egyptian judoka sent home after refusing to shake Israeli’s hand

Since “Skeptic” is my middle name…
What this piece on Yahoo doesn’t address, and I don’t know the answer: If the Egyptian lost, wouldn’t he have been finished competing anyway? Or was he scheduled for another match? If he wasn’t It’s not like he was really be punished; he was finished anyway, so just “send” him home. That way the governing bodies that made this decision come off looking like they’re actually taking a stand in the name of sportsmanship.

I’m not convinced.

   
 

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