Archive for the ‘anti-Semitism’ Category


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.

Follow up on an Olympic moment

Posted on: August 8th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

The International Olympic Committee reportedly reprimanded the head of the Lebanese delegation over an incident in which he blocked Israeli Olympians from boarding a bus.

At a hearing Sunday, the IOC committee warned Salim al-Haj Nakoula that it would not accept a similar incident, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The incident in question occurred Friday, when Nakoula blocked Israeli athletes from boarding a bus to transport them to the opening ceremony of the Rio games. The encounter drew attention when Israeli sailing coach Udi Gal reported it on Facebook.

Nakoula told Lebanese media that the Israelis were “looking for trouble” by insisting on boarding the same bus when they had their own transportation. He reportedly told the IOC that the incident had been a misunderstanding.


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