German tennis club: Jews weren’t missed (& Egyptian ping-pong boycott)

May 11, 2005

* 60 years later, German tennis club says "play not affected" by loss of Jews

* Egyptian refuses to play Israeli rival in table tennis world championship

* World's greatest soccer player, Ronaldo of Brazil and Real Madrid, on his way to Israel


Several recipients of this list expressed keen interest in recent dispatches on sporting matters. This dispatch concerns soccer, basketball, tennis, table tennis (ping-pong), and taekwondo. Some items also update previous dispatches, including:

* World's top soccer coach Jose Mourinho to visit Israel (March 17, 2005)

* Scoring goals against the "Israeli apartheid" myth (March 31, 2005)

* Israeli Arab wins quiz on Zionism (+ soccer update) (April 7, 2005)



1. "Egyptian loses to Israeli rival" (Ynetnews, May 3, 2005)
2. "Iran's Mehdizadeh avoids Israel test ahead of world taekwondo semi" (Islamic Republic News Agency, April 17, 2005)
3. "No Goal" (The Sun, UK, May 5, 2005)
4. "Tennis club double faults" (The Age, Australia, May 9, 2005)
5. "Mac TA beats Tau for 2nd Euroleague title in 2 years" (Ha'aretz, May 9, 2005)
6. "Arab soccer star to promote gambling" (Ynetnews, April 8, 2005)
7. "Chelsea soccer coach accepts unofficial role as Israeli-Palestinian peace envoy" (AP, April 11, 2005)
8. "Soccer phenomenon Ronaldo on peace mission" (Ynetnews, April 14, 2005)


[Note by Tom Gross]


In the same week that the world commemorated the allied victory in Europe over the Nazis 60 years ago, Germany's snootiest tennis club issued a leaflet with strikingly insensitive language. A new brochure for the Red-White Tennis Club in Berlin (the equivalent of Wimbledon in England) claimed that the "quality of play was not affected" when the Nazi race laws prevented Jews from playing tennis. (The club had had many Jewish members.)

The brochure also included a picture of Hermann Goering visiting the club in the 1930's. Goering was one of the architects of the Holocaust and the founder of the Gestapo, responsible for numerous atrocities. The leaflet, which said that once Jews were expelled, the club enjoyed "golden years," sparked a walk-out from several players at the tournament. (The club has since apologized for the leaflet.)

Also this week, Maccabi Tel Aviv (the most popular Israeli basketball team) retained the European title for the second year in a row – triumphing over, among others, the German team Opel Skyliners.


Whilst Jews were not allowed to compete in German tennis clubs under Nazi rule, some athletes in the Middle East are continuing the spirit of Hitler's race laws. Ayatollah Ashraf, an Egyptian, refused to play against her Israeli opponent Marina Kravechenko in the 48th World Table Tennis Championships in Shanghai.

This is the second time in the past month that Israeli athletes have been snubbed by Moslem participants in a world sporting championship.

In a Taekwando world semi-final in Madrid, Iranian Mohammad-Reza Mehdizadeh avoided appearing against his Israeli rival. This follows the 2004 Athens Olympics where Arash Miresmaeili, an Iranian Judo two-time world champion, disqualified himself from a judo match against an Israeli opponent. On that occasion the Iranian athlete received a $115,000 cash prize from the Teheran regime, the same amount he would have received had he won a gold medal.


Rivaling the British election for media coverage over the last few days, British newspapers have been obsessed with the crucial European Football (soccer) Champions League semi-final game between Chelsea and Liverpool last week. Following a controversial goal that won the tie for Liverpool, a system based on Israeli missile technology has proved that the ball did not cross the line, meaning that the goal should not have been allowed. The technology creates a virtual pitch through the given camera angle and allows a view of incidents from an unlimited number of positions. All pitch measurements, including all of the markings and the width of the goal, are built into the program, apparently leaving no margin for error.


The Israeli-Arab goal scorer for the Israeli national team against Ireland in a crucial World Cup soccer qualifying game in March has been chosen as the face of the Israeli national lottery. Abbas Suwan and the role of Israeli-Arabs received extensive media coverage around the world following his last minute equalizing goal for Israel.

The leading soccer coach Jose Mourinho (of Portugal), who said he felt "humbled" when he visited Jerusalem's Western Wall at the end of March, has agreed to sponsor two schools so that they can participate in a program that uses soccer to promote peace. He will also act as special envoy for the (Shimon) Peres Center for Peace, which also announced that Ronaldo, arguably the best soccer player in the world, will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority this month. Ronaldo is a Brazilian striker who currently plays for Real Madrid and is famous for scoring two goals in the World Cup Final of 2002, helping Brazil win the trophy.

I attach eight articles (without summaries, because most of them are short).

-- Tom Gross




Egyptian loses to Israeli rival: After refusing to play against Israeli component, Egyptian Muslim player lost on a technicality at world championship
May 3, 2005,7340,L-3080336,00.html

Ayatollah Ashraf, an Egyptian religious Muslim who routinely shows up for games in a traditional attire, pulled a no-show on her Israeli opponent at the first round ping-pong games of the world championship in Shanghai, China.

Marina Kravechenko the Israeli table tennis player technically won and moved up to the second round of games. However, although luck took the Israeli player up to the next level, it seemed to run out when she lost to Austrian player, Jia Lio in a 5-set game (1-4).



Iran's Mehdizadeh avoids Israel test ahead of world taekwondo semi
Islamic Republic News Agency
April 17, 2005

Iran's 62 kg taekwondo player, Mohammad-Reza Mehdizadeh, avoided appearing on tatami against his Israeli rival before the semifinal stage of the 17th world event here Saturday.

Mehdizadeh, who made the decision as a gesture of defending Palestinian people, was eliminated as Ian Goldsmith advanced to the semifinals.

The Iranian donated his 2002 Asian silver medal to Jenin to pay tribute to Palestinian martyrs. Iran has won five medals, one gold, three silvers, and one bronze, in Madrid.



No Goal
By Shaun Custis
The Sun (UK)
May 5, 2005,,2002390000-2005202076,00.html

Liverpool’s winning goal to beat Chelsea did NOT cross the line, computer technology has shown.

Slovakian linesman Roman Slysko ruled Luis Garcia's strike went in on Tuesday as the Kop booked a place in the Champions League final.

The official insisted it was a goal yesterday although Sky's hi-tech image revealed William Gallas cleared the ball in time and the goal should not have stood.

Sky commentator Andy Gray insisted the computer programme, developed from Israeli missile technology, proved Slysko got it wrong.

Gray said: "If the linesman is on the line then the ball would have needed to be a foot or two beyond the post for him to see it. But our computer pictures show the ball isn't and the linesman has taken a flier on it. It wasn't a goal."

But Slysko said: "I believe my decision was correct. My first feeling, which I remain convinced of, is that it was a goal."



Tennis club double faults
By Allan Hall
Age Correspondent, Berlin
The Age (Australia)
May 9, 2005

Germany's snootiest tennis club has sparked a walk-out from a top tournament after an anniversary brochure called the wartime exit of its Jewish members a "reduction" that didn't affect the quality of play.

The brochure for the Red-White Tennis Club in Berlin - the equivalent of Wimbledon in Britain - also printed a picture of Hermann Goering, Nazi Germany's wartime air force chief who founded the Gestapo secret police, visiting the club in the 1930s.

The article about "the club with a great tradition" stated that due to the Nazi race laws "around half the membership of the so-called Jewish club was reduced, opening the club up to new members. The quality of play was not affected at the premier German tennis club - quite the contrary".

It also went on to say that, following the Jewish expulsions, "golden years" followed for the club and German tennis.

Goering's photo on the VIP stand above the text particularly incensed millionaire Jewish film producer Atze Brauner who was at the club for the first week's Ladies Day tournament. He left with his daughter Alice.

Goering was an architect of the Holocaust that killed six million Jews and was sentenced to die at the postwar Nuremberg war crimes trial. He cheated the gallows by taking cyanide in his cell.

Mr Brauner, who lost many family members in Nazi death camps, said: "This publication is shameful, both the words and picture. Goering was instrumental in the murder of the Jews.

"Is this spirit abroad in the club or is it a case of only one person going off the rails? Either way it is scandalous and unacceptable, particularly at a time when the crimes of the Nazis 60 years after the end of the war are in such focus on TV and in newspapers."

The club is based in Grunewald in Berlin, the pre-war home to many of Berlin's richest Jewish families. Many of their villas were robbed by the SS and seized as the families were either forced to flee or sent to extermination camps in Poland and the Baltic republics.

Dr Andreas Nachama, director of the Topography of Terror exhibition at the site of the old Gestapo HQ in Berlin, said: "Stupid, thoughtless and despicable. A good example that history is still not understood. This is deeply embarrassing for our town."

The club is falling over itself to apologise. Hans-Juergen Jobski, the director, said: "This article is a catastrophe that one simply cannot excuse. It is indescribably stupid."



Mac TA beats Tau for 2nd Euroleague title in 2 years
By Yoav Borowitz
May 9, 2005

Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Euroleague title for the second consecutive year and the fifth time in the team's history on Sunday, beating Tau Vitoria of Spain by 90 to 78.

For an entire season, the Euroleague had been gearing up for a seemingly inevitable Final Four championship game: Maccabi Tel Aviv against CSKA Moscow. But the script was given an unexpected twist on Friday, when Tau Vitoria upset CSKA and the whole of Europe by knocking the host team out of contention.

Maccabi Tel Aviv opened strongly in Sunday's match. Despite an initial lead of 5:4 by Tau, Tel Aviv's defense managed to stabilize the game and prevent the Spaniards from scoring even simple shots. Already, in the first quarter, Maccabi pulled ahead and ended with a lead of 26 to 15.

In the second quarter, Maccabi Tel Aviv kept its advantage, and led by 16 to 30 in the 15th minute. A three-pointer by Tal Borstein brought later brought the score to 39:24. Tau managed to reduce Maccabi's lead, bringing the score to 39:31 before Maccabi began to widen the gap. Maccabi entered half-time with a comfortable lead of 50 to 39.

Tau put up an excellent defense in the third quarter. Maccabi's lead shrank, and stood at only three points in the 28th minute.

Tau stayed in the picture as the fourth quarter opened. With Maccabi's Anthony Parker not at his best, the game was in the hands of Sarunas Jasikevicius, who again proved his ability to perform under pressure. Maccabi raised its lead to 74:66 four minutes before the end, ending the game with an eleven-point lead.

Some 6,000 Israelis were present in Moscow to cheer on the team, as opposed to 650 Tau supporters. In Israel, thousands of the team's fans filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after Maccabi won, dancing, honking horns and celebrating.



Arab soccer star to promote gambling: National team squad member Abbas Suwan chosen to lead advertising campaign for scratch-and-win cards
April 8, 2005,7340,L-3069754,00.html

National team Arab-Israeli soccer player Abbas Suwan has been chosen to lead an advertising Lottery Corporation campaign. The new campaign aims to promote local scratch-and-win cards among Arab-Israelis.

The estimated cost of the campaign is USD 100,000. Suwan himself is expected to earn tens of thousands of dollars for his participation. The Lottery Corp. turned to Suwan following the national team's game against Ireland, Vice President of Marketing Doron Angel said.

Notably, Suwan's goal to tie the game with time running out catapulted him to the status of national hero overnight. "The decision to choose him to lead the campaign stemmed from his character, as a daring, creative player," Angel said.

The dramatic goal scored by Suwan boosted his status among both Jews and Arabs, Angel said, and added that the successful performance has turned Suwan into a role model for Arab-Israelis.



Chelsea soccer coach accepts unofficial role as Israeli-Palestinian peace envoy
The Associated Press
April 11, 2005

Jose Mourinho, coach of Chelsea in the top British soccer league, will help pay for two schools to join a program that uses soccer to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Peres Center for Peace said Monday.

Mourinho also will serve as a special envoy for sports and peace on behalf of the center. Mourinho was in Israel last month for a goodwill soccer tournament with Israeli and Palestinian youths.

The center's "peace soccer" program provides after school soccer lessons and math and English tutoring sessions twice a week, and brings together Israeli and Palestinian children every few weeks for joint activities, the center said.

Mourinho's sponsorship, in association with the sports agency Gestifute, will raise the number of soccer programs to 14 - seven Israeli and seven Palestinian, the center said.

As special envoy, he will promote awareness of the program in the international soccer community and help raise money to allow more children to participate, said Alon Be'er, director of the Peres Center's sport unit. He said each school costs about $80,000 to run.

About 1,200 children ages 6-14 participate in the soccer schools and a similar basketball program, he said. The Peres Center, founded by Vice Premier Shimon Peres, sponsors a number of projects to encourage economic and grass roots cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.



Soccer phenomenon on peace mission
Brazilian star Ronaldo to take part in Peres Center for Peace venture bringing Israeli, Palestinian children together
April 14, 2005,7340,L-3072781,00.html

Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldo is scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the beginning of May, according to the Peres Center for Peace.

Ronaldo, who heads the squad of Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, received updates regarding the Center's Twinned Soccer Schools project, in which some 800 Israeli and Palestinian children from low economic status participate in an educational program that promotes peace and cooperation through sports, the Peres Center said.

In the project's framework, mixed squads of Israeli and Palestinian children are set to compete in a "Mini World Cup" on April 18 at the Herzliya Stadium.

During a recent visit to Israel, Portuguese soccer coach Jose Mourinho, who has led British Club Chelsea to the European Champions League semi-finals, has agreed to serve as a special envoy for the Peres Center for Peace and assist in establishing and financing two soccer schools for Israeli and Palestinian children.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.