Antisemitism in German sports

According to a new study, 39% of the Makkabi sportspeople have experienced at least one or more antisemitic incidents, with the number rising to 68% in their football department.

Among the footballers, 78% surveyed said they witnessed at least one or more antisemitic incidents involving another Makkabi sportsperson or club member. 19% said the last time they experienced an antisemitic incident in the past six months.

Alon Meyer, 46, the president of the Makkabi club network in Germany, commissioned the study because he wanted to quantify what so many members had experienced. The problem's extent, he says, is anything but surprising.

"We wanted to show this isn't something we just feel is the reality, but it is reality," he says.

Antisemitic incidents against Makkabi sportspeople don't just affect Jews.

In fact, the majority of Makkabi's athletes are not Jewish, but they also experience antisemitism as opponents perceive them as Jews due to them playing for Makkabi, whose crest includes a Star of David.

Meyer even recounts one incident where a player was attacked with a knife. The player returned a blow, and both parties ended up in hospital. A conversation then took place between the two players, who both happened to be of Iranian descent.

"The other player was shocked because a Makkabi player spoke Farsi, calling him an idiot and telling him he wouldn't have attacked him if he'd known he was Persian," recalls Meyer. "'You're the idiot if you only see the Star of David on my shirt rather than the person that I am,' was the response."

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