Historically Racist Israeli Soccer Club Renames Itself After Donald Trump (VIDEO + PIC)
Beitar Jerusalem, the Israeli soccer team best known for its unapologetically racist fans, has changed its name to Beitar Trump Jerusalem to thank President Trump for moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this week.
Founded in 1936 as part of an Israeli nationalist movement, Beitar Jerusalem has been closely associated with far-right politics throughout its history. The club has long refused to sign Arab players because its racist fans would object. When Israelis newspaper Haaretz published an article about this policy in 2015, the club banned Harretz from covering its matches.
In 2013 Beitar Jerusalem signed Gabriel Kadiev and Zaur Sadayev, two Muslim players from Chechnya. One group of fans responded by setting fire to the team headquarters. Others heckled Kadiev and Sadayev during team practices. And about 300 of them walked out of the stadium in protest when Sadayev scored his first goal with the club.
After that, rather than chastise their racist fans, club adviser Eli Cohen instead said that he would appease them by refusing to sign Muslim players in the future.
Of course, the club’s official position is that it is not racist. But fans actually embrace the label. At games they chant, “Here we are, the most racist team in the country!” and hold up banners that read “Beitar Forever Pure.”
But while Beitar Jerusalem and its fans may not like Arabs and Muslims, the club loves Donald Trump. Here’s what they said about the decision to rebrand themselves Beitar Trump Jerusalem this week:
“For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel. President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status.
“The football club Beitar Jerusalem, one of the most prominent symbols of the city, are happy to honor the President for his love and support with a gesture of our own. The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add to the club’s title the name of the American President who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem.
“We have the greatest love for the President, and it will win!”
Congratulations, Mr. President. It looks like you’re winning over racists in other countries, too.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]