I was looking for a graphic to illustrate a story for the paper about Team Israel at the WBC and came across this nasty piece in Counterpunch titled “A Pro-Israel PR Gambit? ‘Israel’ meets South Africa in World Baseball Classic.”
Note the use of the quotation marks around Israel.
The writer riffs on the fact that the vast majority of the players are not actually Israeli.
How and why did this bizarre eligibility standard come into being? According to the Bleacher Report, seven of 30 major league teams have Jewish owners. The current baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, who is a former owner, is Jewish. Ostensibly these rulers of the sport are allowing Americans to play for Israel in the hope of promoting baseball in the Holy Land, which has been a recent project of a handful of Jewish-Americans who have immigrated to Israel.
More likely, it is a pro-Israel public relations gambit. Many supporters of Israel believe that any sports or entertainment-related publicity Israel can garner helps divert public attention from that nation’s military aggression and abuses of Palestinian human and political rights. Also, the conflation of world Jewry and Israeli nationality is thought by many to bolster the standing of the Israeli government and help shield it against criticism.
Wow, way to politicize baseball, pal.I guess he’s not aware that it’s not baseball who determines eligibility for the various countries, that MLB could not counter the standards set in place by the individual sovereign nation.
The reference to Selig’s religion smacks of the vicious canards about Jews running the banks and the movie industry.
The writer is “a retired college librarian and writer….[who] lived in Israel for a couple of years in the 70s and never saw baseball being played there.” So I guess he believes that since they didn’t play it then, they can’t do so now.
I’m so PO’d at this, I am tempted to curse in print. You will note that there isn’t the usually “comments” box at the end of the article. So much for the free exchange if ideas.