The author is the New Israel Fund's director of communications and the founder of Let's Kick Racism Out of Israeli Football
There’s nothing new in the abuse that opposing soccer fans inflicted on Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Toto Tamuz in Monday’s game against Beitar Jerusalem in the capital’s Teddy Stadium. The shouts of “kushi” (the “n” word), monkey calls, and throwing bananas – black players in Israeli soccer have been enduring this sort of thing ever since they began playing here. Not only foreign players, but Ethiopian Jewish immigrants like Baruch Dego get the treatment. (The Nigerian-born Tamuz was adopted by an Israeli mother at the age 2.)
What is new about this latest outpouring of filth is that Israeli soccer players were moved to rebel against it, to finally say “enough.” The Hapoel Tel Aviv team, backed by the club’s management, announced that the next time they encounter racist expressions directed at their players, they will all walk off the field.