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Racism in Soccer

Tamuz shuts Beitar fans up Photo: Oz Mualem
Tamuz shuts Beitar fans up Photo: Oz Mualem
 
 

Diseased soccer family

Op-ed: Soccer fans' abhorrent behavior reflection of racist, vulgar and violent Israeli society

Yehuda Shohat
Published: 11.03.12, 14:49 / Israel Opinion

It is supposed to be the ultimate father-son experience: A soccer stadium jam-packed with excited fans and 11 people playing their hearts out for my favorite club; the club that has become my second family and gives me, if only for 90 minutes, the sense that I belong to something.

 

But I will keep my eldest son, Bar, away from the Israeli soccer family. Not because of the poor level of play (and it is poor) or the league's aggressive and corrupt management, but because this is an ugly family that has contracted an incurable and infectious disease.

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The racist chants by Beitar Jerusalem's fans against Nigerian- born striker Toto Tamuz are merely a symptom of this disease, which the fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv, Tamuz's current team, suffer from as well – uncontrollable violence, racism, hatred of the other and ridiculing the weak. The only way to avoid contracting this disease is to keep away from Israel's soccer stadiums. The racist fans will be there, and we will remain here – in our little bubble.

 

My team, Hapoel Katamon, is known for its relatively calm supporters. Our DNA is different, but the dangerous symptoms can be found among our fan base as well.

 

Some say the soccer fans' abhorrent behavior is just their way of releasing anger, that the situation abroad is even worse and that it is better that they vent their anger during soccer matches than on the streets. There is no bigger fallacy than this. Those who cannot control themselves at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem will not be able to control themselves at the bank or supermarket either. A teacher who makes monkey noises toward a black player on the opposing team only to "take him out of his game" will behave improperly in front of his students as well.

 

Perhaps this is precisely the problem. The soccer stadiums (and, on rare occasions, our basketball arenas) are a reflection of modern-day Israeli society, which, as we can see on the Knesset Channel, is rude, shallow, vulgar, violent, uneducated and racist.

 

 

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