There is never good news when it comes to antisemitism. The hatred of Israel and the Jewish people is an evil that blackens everything it touches. Sometimes, however, antisemites can be humbled and taught a valuable lesson in sportsmanship, which is what the Ireland women’s basketball team learned the hard way.

This week, Ireland women’s basketball team showed the ugliness of anti-Israel bigotry when a number of Irish players sought to boycott a match against Israel. Fortunately, they were stopped from boycotting Israel when Fiba Europe, the regulatory body for the sport stepped in and threatened them with serious punishments if they boycotted. The Irish coach decided it was better to play the game than to sacrifice the careers of his players for the next five years.

That wasn’t the end of the story, however, as the Irish team were determined to show their hatred. They wanted any excuse to disrespect Israel, and they found it.

Before the game, one of the Israeli players was asked about the attitude of the Irish team and their thwarted plans to boycott the game. As the Irish government has a long history of Israel hatred, an Israeli player stated quite fairly that Ireland has a problem with antisemitism. After all, the current government of Ireland has expressed anti-Israel views, supports antisemitic boycotts of Israel and has expressed support for Palestinian resistance. Oh, and the Irish team sought to boycott Israel, and only Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, while not wanting to boycott any other team. Not China, not Iran, not Russia, but just Israel.

Ireland were outraged by the accusation of antisemitism. They released a statement saying that, because of this supposed insult, they would not engage in any traditional pre-match arrangements with Israel – no exchanging of gifts, no formal handshakes before or after the game, and they wouldn’t stand on court during the national anthems.

So to prove they weren’t antisemitic, they refused to show any sportsmanship towards Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.

Needless to say, the anti-Israel attitude amongst the Irish team is strong. They couldn’t boycott the match but they did everything they could to show disrespect to Israel. They used any excuse to avoid showing good sportsmanship, and actually proved the point of the Israeli player.

The end result? Israel’s women basketball team THRASHED their opponents a whopping 87 points to 57 points. That’s a 30 point victory over their antisemitic opponents.

Ireland’s national team learned that antisemitism never wins.

The Bible teaches that God will bless those who bless Israel and God will curse those who curse Israel. This is a very simple example of that principle being played out.

Well done to the Israeli athletes for standing up against hatred. And we pray that Ireland will turn away from its antisemitic attitudes towards Israel.

Get your copy of this eye-opening booklet, The Sin of Silence, with testimonies of those who witnessed the Holocaust and the admissions of some who perpetrated the horrific atrocity.


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