Maccabi Tel Aviv arrives in Israel.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
■ THE SWEET smell of success that marked the victory of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague basketball championship and the groundswell of delighted reaction by the Israeli public was marred by anti-Semitic reactions from other quarters. Angry Spaniards flooded their Twitter accounts with the most hateful comments about Maccabi Tel Aviv. A press statement issued last week by officials of the team reads: “Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club wishes to express its shock and disappointment at the hurtful discriminatory comments made on social media networks following Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague championship win in Milan on Sunday. “The joy and elation shared throughout Israel and the Jewish world in the wake of Maccabi’s Euroleague championship was not just a celebration of basketball excellence, but a celebration of the triumph of Maccabi’s core values. Israel’s emergence as a global basketball hub is anchored in its affirmation that regardless of race, religion or nationality, communities can unite around a shared passion for the game we love.”The release quotes Maccabi Tel Aviv’s general manager, Danny Federman, as saying: “Our trademark yellow was adopted by the club in the 1940s as a sign of solidarity with the Jews of Europe who were persecuted by the Nazis and forced to wear a yellow star. Maccabi took something that was a mark of shame, and did what we could to make it a symbol that would generate pride and unity. It is very disappointing to see the rush of anti-Semitism following a well-fought competition, but we are proud to wear colors that symbolize unity, togetherness and respect for all peoples. We will continue to look to the future and work with our fellow Euroleague competitors and fans to promote the game and share the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie we have enjoyed over the past 50 years.”