Category not assigned

Racism in football, Israel and Egypt: Contrast in Guardian coverage


The Guardian has devoted five separate stories (including three videos) in their coverage of recent acts of anti-Muslim racism by fans of the Israeli football team, Beitar Jerusalem, who are unhappy with the club’s decision to sign two Chechen Muslim players.





fiveA few additional facts:

  • “Beitar’s owner, Arcadia Gaydamak, refused to bow to the fans’ pressure. “As far as I’m concerned, there is no difference between a Jewish player and a Muslim player…”
  • “Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Friday’s apparent arson attack was “shameful”, adding: “The Jewish people, [who have] suffered boycotts and persecution, should be a light unto other nations.””
  • “President Shimon Peres said the entire country was shocked, and former prime minister Ehud Olmert, a Beitar fan for more than 40 years, said that he would no longer attend matches because of fans’ behaviour.”
  • “Israel’s attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, said police would take action against any “manifestation of [racism] that crosses the line into a criminal act”. The Israeli Football Association imposed a 50,000 shekels (£8,595) fine on the club for the racist slogans of its fans and ordered the closure of the eastern stand of its stadium, where hardcore fans congregate, for five matches.”


On April 6, 2011, scores of football fans in Egypt hurled gigantic banners with the words:

One Nation for a new Holocaust [against the Jews].

There are no Jews on any of Egypt’s football teams, and there are merely three dozen Jewish citizens left in the entire country.  (There were over 75,000 in 1948.)

More importantly, in contrast to the reaction in Israel:

  • Is it even conceivable that Egyptian authorities investigated those who hurled the antisemitic banners on April 6?
  • Will criminal hate crime charges be brought against the culprits?
  • Have any Egyptian public officials denounced such an ugly display of racism by Egyptian football fans?
  • Are ordinary Egyptian citizens outraged by such despicable behavior?

While the questions above are largely rhetorical, there is one important question which we no longer even need to ask, as the answer was found by a web and Lexis-Nexus search: 

The Guardian didn’t devote even one story to the pro-genocide messages at an Egypt football stadium on April 6, 2011.

25 replies »

  1. We know that Guardian staff reads Cifwatch. Adam Levick has reported changes, comments etc in the Guardian which were a result of his pointing out errors and omissions. So, Guardian staffer reading the article, what do you have to say to this?

    Will you go ahead and point out how less than liberal and democratic Egypt still is despite the Arab Spring? Will you point out how Israel rejects the racism of its football hooligans like a true transparent Western democracy? Or will you just go on demonising Israel, publishing articles encouraging the boycotting of Israel, while ignoring the vile racism and blatant antisemitism of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world?

    In other words, are you honest though misguided liberals or are you just hypocrites pandering to the business & advertising of the Arab world?

  2. Well done to whoever wrote this post. It clearly contrasts the position of the Israeli leadership with the leadership of Egypt.

    Much more important is the obsessive reporting by The Guardian which tries to present Israel negatively.

    The blatant racism expressed by some Beytar Yarushlyim supporters is appalling. Absolutely appalling and can have no justification. Not in Muslim terror attacks against Israelis/Jews. Not in threats by Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims to eliminate Israel.

    No justification.


    • Sadly all of the racist fans of Beytar should be named and shamed.
      Easily identified in this day and age with footage capturing all of them.

      Lip sync what they chant easily.

      We all know and heard the “Mavet La’Aravim” (death to the Arabs) chants in their games on a regular basis and this week’s clash with Bney Sachnin proven to be no different.
      We got used to the sport’s commentators stating how appaling it is time and time again yet nothing has been done.
      A laughable fine and hardly a point docked.
      Hit them where it hurts, is what I say.

      This has been going since the 80’s in Eli Ochana’s days.
      It’s a shame to the whole of Israel that it’s capital’s team is the worst.
      It’s similar to the Poland’s Krakow teams, though less violent, it is racist in the same measure.

      • And to Bibi I’d say “Diburim kmo Chol, vein ma le’echol”.
        In hebrew we say “A barking dog does not bite”, and sadly Bibi barks too often.

        • I would worry more about the hate speech making the rounds of college campuses today than the rants of a few drunken hooligans at a football game. As distasteful, unacceptable and offensive as those racial chants are, I’m betting that the football teams will eventually deal with them to some extent. Rowdy morons at sporting events is nothing new. I think those chants only serve to make the chanters look imbecilic in front of the wider public. Lip service from college administrators is all we get for the obnoxious slanders about Israel disseminated on college campuses, so-called places of higher learning. Much of what is said is no less offensive and most probably more widespread.

          • Are you refering to Israeli campuses?
            If not it’s another matter.
            2 wrongs do not make a right.
            And the “drunken” hooligans (we are talking about Beytar fans who hardly drink) have been at it unchallanged for 30+ years.

  3. Also, compare and contrast Morsi’s stance towards the Jews (he has called them pigs and worse) and almost the entire Israeli political bloc towards Muslims. Although in the Egyptian premier’s defense, his beliefs towards Jews are totally in line his religious teachings (much like those of Nazis), therefore forgivable by the Left and some of their in feminist and gay and lesbian organisations.

    • his beliefs towards Jews are totally in line his religious teachings (much like those of Nazis), therefore forgivable by the Left …
      What utter nonsense. The Left in general have no truck with such views and beliefs.

      and some of their in feminist and gay and lesbian organisations.
      So you’ve decided to tone it down after originally calling gays and lesbians in general “idiots.”

      There’s hope yet.

  4. A non-story similar to a ‘Dog bites postman in London’ would be.
    Beitar hiring 2 Muslim players is the news, not their lunatic racist fringe which exists in all international football clubs, especially in English football.

    Sometimes, Cif Watch protests too much.

    • Lil. Several things. 1. I disagree that the lunatic racist fringe exists “especially” in English football. Of course it exists, and of course it should be condemned, but RELATIVE to certain other European countries, following football in England is a tolerant paradise!

      2. You are right – Beitar hiring Muslim players, and the attitude of the owners that they will not be cowed by the racism of some of the fans, is indeed the story here, and is GOOD news. Contrast that, for example, to the attitude of the owners of Zenit St Petersburg who have said they will not contemplate signing a black player because their fans wouldn’t accept them.

      3. You say that CifWatch protests too much. I would agree with you – sometimes they do. But not in this instance. The obsessive over-reporting of any racism in Israel (without the contact of the condemnation of it by mainstream society and politicians) as contrasted to the blanket obscuring the far worse institutional racism that undeniably pervades many surrounding nations is inexcusable.

    • It didn’t occur to the Guardian that while an Israeli football club hiring Muslim footballers is normal, an Arab football club hiring Israeli/Jewish players would be impossible.

            • I can’t speak for Lemon, but the fact that Bnei Sakhnin play in the Israeli league may be what sets them apart. I think Lemon meant that a football club in an Arab country hiring Israeli/Jewish players is unthinkable. I very much doubt you will find any example of any Jewish/Israeli player playing in any team in Egypt, Syria, Lybia, Jordan, Lebanon etc etc.

  5. Israelis have already condemned the shocking acts of the Beitar hardliners, and the authorities are taking action. But one does have to ask why the Guardian ran 5 stories about this, and not one about the racism in Egyptian football.

    It’s almost as if the Guardian wants to demonize Israel, and whitewash Egypt. But ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’ would never stoop to anything so transparently biased and bigoted would they?

  6. Why write one story once when 5 times will do? Some legitimate criticism turns sour after the Guardian pounds the story to pulp. Of course, the more serious daily anti-semitic chants from leader to lay civilian in Arab society is not given a mention and not newsworthy. Just another case of “Dog bites man”

  7. I saw a CNN report about this story last week. I don’t seem to remember a parallel report on racism in Egytpian football.

    What does CiFWatch make of that?

  8. My first thought on hearing about Beitar recruiting Arab players was the situation in Scotland until just two decades ago – where Catholic and Protestant clubs were similary segregated along sectarian lines.

    • Not entirely accurate. It is true that Rangers had an unofficial “no Catholics” policy until relatively recently (at least after World War I) but Celtic never had a similar policy of not hiring Protestants. Some of their greatest players over the years have been Protestants. It is true, however, that the fan bases of both teams were (and still are) heavily split on religious grounds.

  9. Thinking of the continous boycott of Israel by Arabs and Muslims in all Sport, which is a much bigger scandal on global scale, and putting the article into context, this is just the usual incitement to single out Israel,
    Damned bigots.
    No way that idiots in Israel should follow that role model.