Brandishing signs declaring “He’s My Captain,” “Stop Racism in Sport” and “No Place for Antisemitism,” hundreds of demonstrators converged on the Johannesburg headquarters of Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday to demand the reinstatement of David Teeger as captain of the national U-19 team, one week after he was stripped of the post amid accusations of antisemitism.
An observant Jew who made his professional cricket debut in 2023, Teeger was removed from the captain’s position by the CSA Board on the eve of the Cricket World Cup, which is being hosted by South Africa and begins on Friday. Explaining its decision, CSA cited “security concerns” around Teeger’s very presence, insisting that removing him from the captaincy — but not the team — allayed the risk of violent pro-Hamas demonstrations at World Cup matches that might potentially endanger the team, spectators and Teeger himself.
However, this reasoning was dismissed as a “ruse” by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) following its meeting with CSA earlier this week, charging that the body, which governs cricket operations across the country, had displayed “pure antisemitism” in removing Teeger as captain.
“They tried to get David to step down voluntarily, saying ‘it’ll be hard for you.’ He refused and that’s when they stripped him,” Zev Krengel — the SAJBD’s vice-president — stated at an online press conference on Tuesday. Krengel also emphasized that Teeger had been cleared of the charge of bringing CSA into disrepute by an independent investigation following a speech he gave at a Jewish communal awards ceremony in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel, in which he lauded “the State of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the diaspora.”
At Tuesday’s protest, demonstrators led boisterous chants of “We want Teeger!” and “David! David!” Among the speakers at the event was South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) vice-president Avrom Krengel, who told the crowd, “We need to take back cricket and our country from people who do not represent us anymore.”
CSA remained unmoved by the protest, however. “Cricket South Africa finds the accusations of antisemitism leveled against it by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies as without any basis and rejects them with the contempt they deserve,”a spokesperson for the CSA board told CNN on Thursday.
As part of its effort to secure Teeger’s reinstatement as team captain for a tournament that involves the participation of 16 nations, the SAJBD on Wednesday wrote to Greg Barclay — chair of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sports’ international governing body — asserting that “CSA categorically failed to provide any credible evidence that there had been any real security threats to the upcoming tournament due to David Teeger being captain of the SA team.”
The letter went on to state that “taking into account the strong possibility of political interference on the part of the South African government being involved, one is all but forced to conclude that David Teeger was stripped of his captaincy due to his being a Jewish person who at a private Jewish communal event had expressed support for the State of Israel and its armed forces following the 7 October terror attacks against the country and the ongoing war resulting from that.”
It emphasized again that Teeger was removed “despite an independent investigation initiated by CSA itself and conducted by the eminent Advocate Wim Trengove having found that Teeger had not contravened CSA’s code of conduct.”
The ICC’s current position is that it is unable to step into the controversy.
“Team selection including captaincy is an issue for members and not the ICC,” an ICC spokesperson said on Tuesday. “An international federation is not constituted to intervene in team selections.”
Russia Extends Invitation to Palestinian Factions for Talks in Moscow
i24 News – Russia has extended invitations to various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, for discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict and broader issues in the Middle East.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced the initiative on Friday, highlighting Moscow’s desire to engage with all major players in the region amid heightened tensions.
The invitation included a dozen Palestinian groups and is slated for “inter-Palestinian” talks scheduled to commence on February 29.
Bogdanov, serving as President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East, emphasized the inclusivity of the invitation, stating, “We invited all Palestinian representatives — all political forces that have their positions in different countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and other countries in the region.”
Among the invitees are Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, alongside representatives of Fatah and the broader Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The invitation comes at a critical juncture as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to escalate, drawing international attention and concern. Russia’s proactive stance in convening discussions reflects its growing criticism of Israel and its Western allies, underscoring Moscow’s efforts to assert its influence in the region.
The post Russia Extends Invitation to Palestinian Factions for Talks in Moscow first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Netanyahu: Those Who Want us to Desist from Rafah Op Are Telling Us to Lose
i24 News – Hamas drops its “delusional” demands, productive hostage talks could begin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, stressing Israel would not agree to the terror group’s current demands.
WATCH: PM Netanyahu delivers a statement after Hamas suspended negotiations pic.twitter.com/nxISPb4JUm
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 17, 2024
“I insist that Hamas should abandon its delusional demands – and when it does, we will be able to move forward,” Netanyahu said in a statement live on TV.
“Those who want us to desist from the Rafah operation,” the leader said in an apparent reference to the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, “are telling us we should lose. We won’t be dictated to.”
The post Netanyahu: Those Who Want us to Desist from Rafah Op Are Telling Us to Lose first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Iran Unveils New Air Defense Weaponry
i24 News – Iran demonstrated new weaponry on Saturday, including what it said was the locally made Arman anti-ballistic missile system and the Azarakhsh low-altitude air defense system, said the official IRNA news agency. Saturday’s unveiling ceremony of the two vehicle-mounted systems was held in the presence of Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani.
“With the entry of new systems into the country’s defense network, the air defense capability of the Islamic Republic of Iran will increase significantly,” said IRNA.
Video of the new Azarakhsh SHORAD engaging a target drone
— Iran Defense|نیروهای مسلح جمهوری اسلامی ایران (@IranDefense) February 17, 2024
The Arman missile system is said to be able to “simultaneously confront six targets at a distance of 120 to 180 km,” while the Azarakhsh missile system “can identify and destroy targets up to a range of 50 km with four ready-to-fire missiles.”
The announcement comes amid tensions across the Middle East, with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis attacking vessels linked to the United States, UK and Israel in the Red Sea in a show of solidarity with the Gaza Strip.
— Press TV (@PressTV) February 17, 2024
The U.S. and its allies in the Middle East are concerned with Iran’s growing role at the international global arms market, The Wall Street Journal said on Friday. The transformation of the industry, boosted by Russia’s “purchase of thousands of drones that altered the battlefield in Ukraine, has helped Tehran scale up its support of militia allies in Middle East conflicts,” read the report.