European Soccer: Hatred and history beyond the pitch

 

The European community saw yet another display of Anti-Semitism at the Europa League soccer game between England’s Tottenham and Italy’s Lazio last Thursday during a high tension game in Rome.

Tottenham is known for having a strong Jewish following from Northern England. These fans were attacked without merit at the game, with remarks from Lazio fans including “Juden Tottenham” calling upon difficult memories from the second World War. “Free Palestine” was also among the chants from Lazio fans, touching upon the current and continuing situation between Israel and Palestine.

In unfortunate situations such as this, one can truly see the power that this sport has beyond the pitch, as fans take matters into their own hands…transforming the sport from enjoyable passtime to personal attack. The World Jewish Congress has asked that Lazio be removed from the Europa league for their racist commentary, as the team seemed to support their fans’ opinions.

Regardless of the tolerance and anti-racism campaigns run by UEFA in recent years, it’s disheartening to see that hatred still very much exists in this organization.

Soccer, or football as they say, is much more than a sport in Europe, but a means for fans to identify with a political, economic, national, and racial past. This adds an interesting dynamic to each game, as one roots for the team that truly represents their personal experience. Displays of hatred and violence at games bring unfortunate realities into the limelight.

Where do we go from here? Have you had any personal experience with sports related racism and intolerance? Please share your stories, everyone deserves to be heard.
At least I am a Juventus fan 😉

 

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All Eyes on Israel

The past week has been a difficult one for Israel, having boarded the Turkish flotilla and killing 9 “humanitarian” activists attempting to break the blockade in Gaza. I rarely voice my political opinions on this blog, but being that this is a forum for thoughts and opinions, I thought I would dedicate this entry to my support of Israel, the State of the Jewish people.

I don’t want to get into these endless arguments about who’s fault it is that there is unrest between Israel and Palestine, who threw the first stone, the first missle. Everyone’s opinions of course vary on their experience with the situation, and their historical ties with the land.Walking home from dinner at a friend’s house last night, I was bombarded by the new graffiti in the area… including “Israeliani=Nazisti” (Israelis=Nazis) which fundamentally bothered me.

So, in an effort to avoid the argument that has given me an ulcer the size of the sink-hole in Guatemala, I thought I’d put up a recipe for Hummus, a scrumptious chick-pea based dip and a staple in Israeli cuisine. Eaten as an appetizer or condiment, hummus is incredibly easy to make and full of Mediterranean flavor.

Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz can of chick peas
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can
  • 4 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Drain chickpeas from can keeping aside 1/4 of container’s liquid.
  2. Place beans and remaining ingredients into food processor and mix for 3-5 mins on low until well blended.
  3. Place blended mixture into a small bowl, leaving well in the center of the dip.
  4. Fill well with pine nuts, paprika, and olive oil.
  5. Serve.
Hummus and Pita

Hummus goes best with warm pita, fresh vegetables, or spiced meats. It’s too easy not to make, and too awesome not to enjoy. I highly recommend this recipe. It will definitely be the first thing I eat in Israel when I go for a visit next month.

Therefore, I realize many people will be against my support of Israel, and this entry might even raise some eyebrows, but as a Jew I feel connected to a land that is rightfully governed by my people, and will continue to be in support of Israel regardless of public opinion. No one is perfect, and every country makes mistakes, but it seems that regardless of what they do Israel is always portrayed in a severely negative light.

So, Enjoy some hummus, warm up some pita, and try to see the world from multiple perspectives, not just the ones regurgitated by the media.

בתיאבון

(B’tayavon, which means Bon Apetit in Hebrew)

Shalom!

P.S. only a week after the flotilla incident and Parma has already become littered with Anti-Israel graffiti….It’s kind of sad to see in a city that I cherish so deeply…