Israel faces pressure on its sports community as attacks on the Gaza Strip continue. This time, the Irish women’s basketball team refused to participate in pregame formalities, including shaking hands.
In another slight for Israeli sport, the Irish women’s basketball team refused to shake hands with Israeli opponents before a EuroBasket 2025 qualifying match in Latvia following outrage over accusations of anti-Semitism. That’s true.
Ahead of the game, Basketball Ireland released a statement on Thursday, telling FIBA Europe the day before that it had “directly criticized recent comments by Israeli players and coaching staff, including inflammatory and completely inaccurate accusations of anti-Semitism.” As a result, we have communicated on the official channels of the Israeli federation that our players will not participate in the traditional pre-match arrangements with their next opponents.”
“This will include the exchange of gifts and formal handshakes before and after the game, but the players will line up for the national anthem by the benches rather than on center court. Basketball Ireland We fully support this,” the statement continued.
The Irish women’s basketball team refused to shake Israel’s hand and participate in the national anthem on center court.
Thank you Ireland. Don’t stop talking about Gaza. pic.twitter.com/5fqgGaIXU8
— Mohammad Safa (@mhdksafa) February 10, 2024
On Wednesday, Israeli basketball player Dol Sarr called the Irish team “pretty anti-Semitic” in an interview published on the Israel Basketball Association website.
“They are known to be quite anti-Semitic, it’s no secret, and that’s probably why we expect a strong fight,” Searle was quoted as saying.
Although Ireland lost the game to Israel, Ireland head coach James Weldon praised his players for their “incredible maturity in overcoming a very high-pressure week,” according to Basketball Ireland. praised.
Basketball Ireland reportedly faced calls to boycott the game against Israel.
The sports association said: “If Ireland fail to play the match against Israel, they will be fined up to €80,000 by FIBA Europe, and if the return match is not played, a further fine of €100,000 will be imposed. Probably.”
It added that, according to the FIBA European Competition Rules, Ireland will be excluded from the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 Qualification and the upcoming qualifying campaign, effectively giving them a five-year ban.
Calls for a ban on soccer in Israel
Earlier this week, a group from the Middle East Football Association called on the World Football Federation to ban Israel from entering the country.
Efforts to banish Israel from world football were reportedly led by Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, half-brother of King Abdullah II of Jordan, who holds the position of president of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF). It is said that
This group of 12 countries also includes the FAs of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Jordan’s Loya News said the appeal was sent to all 211 national football federations and six regional federations, including UEFA, of which Israel is a member.
European organizations have no plans to exclude Israel from events such as the UEFA Football Championship or the Eurovision Song Contest, despite the Gaza war.
Why can Israel compete in Europe?
— Al Jazeera English Podcasts (@AJEPodcasts) February 9, 2024
Prince Ali of the Jordanian Football Association reportedly wrote: “We, the West Asian Football Confederation, inclusive of all our member countries, call on FIFA, football federations and member associations to cooperate with us in taking a firm stance against the atrocities and war committed in Palestine.” Condemn the killing of innocent civilians, including players, coaches, referees, and officials, and the destruction of football infrastructure, and mount a united front to isolate the Israeli Football Association from all football-related activities until these acts of aggression are committed. By doing so, we condemn the crimes in Gaza. stop it. ”
“The humanitarian crisis demands a clear and decisive response from world football…As members bound by FIFA’s statutes, we… We are united in our commitment to uphold all internationally recognized human rights.”
FIFA has banned Russia from international soccer following the military operation in Ukraine.
Israel banned from international hockey
Last month, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced Israel was expelled from all competitions From consideration for “safety and security.”
“In accordance with the IIHF’s duty of care to protect all participants in IIHF competitions (…), the IIHF Board of Directors (…) has decided to restrict the participation of the Israeli national team in the IIHF Championship,” the federation said in a statement. Stated. read.
Ice Hockey Federation suspends Israeli team, Tel Aviv files lawsuit
The Irish women’s basketball team refused to participate in pregame formalities, including shaking hands with Israeli players. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)
The same procedure was used to ban Russia and Belarus from competing two years ago.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli Olympic Committee President Yael Arad as saying it was a “dangerous decision that reeks of anti-Semitism disguised as athlete safety.”
Israeli athletes and teams have been banned from some competitions in the past as part of a large-scale boycott campaign against Israel’s systematic abuses of Palestinian human rights.