The politically-symbolic act of two young American athletes has been dubbed ‘antisemitic’ by Israel’s supporters on social media and among the various organizations that promote Israel’s interests in the United States.
The controversy started when two volleyball players from Brooklyn College decided to kneel down during Israel’s national anthem, ahead of a match against Yeshiva University.
The symbolic act by two athletes, Hunnan Butt and Omar Rezika, was meant as a political protest against the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies in Palestine.
During today's Yeshiva U. vs. Brooklyn College basketball game, two players (Omar Rezika #13 and Hunnan Butt #15) decided to kneel during Hatikvah.
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) February 24, 2020
The kneeling gesture is a common act of political protest in sports, made particularly popular by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The African-American athlete, along with many others, has repeatedly kneeled down during the American national anthem to protest racism, police brutality, and the mistreatment of African-Americans and other minorities in the US.
Butt and Rezika attempted to use that form of protest as a way of raising awareness of Israel’s racist, apartheid policies in Palestine.
JUST IN: Brooklyn College Athletes Draw Ire For Kneeling During Israel’s National Anthem — Jewish athletes dissed during volleyball match https://t.co/D6ZdRy82MC
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) February 25, 2020
Pro-Israel individuals and institutions, however, immediately dubbed the symbolic act as one of “antisemitism” and “hatred”.
“Brooklyn College strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred,” a Brooklyn College spokesman told the YU student newspaper, the Observer, adding that “the two students who knelt during the national anthem did not refuse to shake hands with players from the other team.”
#BDS #GroupPalestine #FreePalestine #IsraelCrimes #gaza_under_attack #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack #Yemen #YemenCantWait#ICC4Israel #Iraq
Embracing Palestine: How to Combat Israel’s Misuse of ‘Antisemitism’ https://t.co/oqhEK6dn0C via @MiddleEastMnt
— Ratiba "Tibou" Abdessemed (@Tibou12379939) January 1, 2020
Writing in the Palestine Chronicle, Palestinian author and journalist Ramzy Baroud said that “while anti-Jewish racism is a real phenomenon that must be confronted, ‘antisemitism’, as defined by Israel and its Zionist allies .. is a smokescreen, with the ultimate aim of distracting from the real conversation, that being the crimes of military occupation, racism, and apartheid in Palestine.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)