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NBA’s Utah Jazz Told Rabbis to Remove ‘I’m a Jew and I’m Proud’ Signs During Game

Rabbi Avremi Zippel and three other rabbis at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City Utah, Jan. 1, 2024. Photo: X/Twitter screenshot

A group of Utah rabbis were told to remove signs that read “I’m a Jew and I’m proud” from a professional basketball game on Monday night because they were distracting the players.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel and three other rabbis brought the signs to the Delta Center to watch the home-team Utah Jazz face the Dallas Mavericks. The signs were meant to protest Kyrie Irving, now a Mavericks player, who was suspended in 2022 by a former team for tweeting a link to a movie widely considered to be antisemitic. He initially refused to disavow the film.

We may have brought four Rabbis to sit courtside tonight…

— Avremi Zippel (@UtahRabbi) January 2, 2024

Zippel wrote on X/Twitter that Irving saw the signs early in the first quarter and told him: “No need to bring that to a game.” According to the rabbi, Irving then spoke to Mavericks security staff, before Jazz officials appeared to check the rabbis’ tickets and tell them to remove the signs.

The Jazz said in a statement that the signs violated its code of conduct for those at the arena, which the team explained is meant so that games can be played “without distraction and disruption.”

Regardless of where someone is in the arena, the team continued, “if a sign becomes distracting or sparks an interaction with a player, we will ask them to remove it.”

“During an out-of-bounds play in the first quarter of yesterday’s Jazz game against the Dallas Mavericks, there was a group sitting courtside whose signs sparked an interaction with a player that created a distraction and interfered with the play of game,” the statement read. “As the next step in standard security protocol, the fans were asked to take down their signs.”

The Jazz added that a “part-time employee” who told the rabbis that the content of the signs was problematic was “incorrect.”

“The issue was the disruptive interaction caused by usage of the signs, not the content of the signs,” the statement concluded.

However, Zippel argued on X/Twitter on Tuesday that the Jazz took Irving’s side.

“Bottom line: there was one person, in a building of 18,000+, that was triggered by sign that says ‘I’m a Jew and I’m proud,’ Why that bothers him so, to the point that it sparks an interaction, should be the real question anyone is asking,” Zippel wrote. “Sadly, instead of just quietly chalking this up to a misunderstanding and letting this remain a small blip, the Jazz took the side of said triggered player and doubled down. That’s just disappointing to me.”

Zippel, who noted he will remain a supporter of the Jazz, told the Deseret News that the NBA team has over the years shown strong support for the local Jewish community.

The Jazz beat the Mavericks 127-90 on Monday.

In November, Irving stirred controversy by wearing a black and white keffiyeh, a traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East that has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel. He also posted a photo on Instagram of himself wearing the headscarf as he walked around the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC, and accepted a Palestinian flag as a gift from a basketball fan at a recent game.

Irving’s decision to wear a keffiyeh garnered significant attention on social media, with pro-Israel supporters lambasting him for doing so amid Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas following the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel. The onslaught was the biggest single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.

Since Oct. 7, Irving has shared pro-Palestinian messages on social media. The athlete — who likes to go by his Native American name “Hélà” online — has more than once reposted tweets about genocide and “crimes of the empire,” seemingly referring to Israel, by an account on X/Twitter called “End All Colonialism, Free Palestine.” He also shared messages about the US funding Israel’s alleged “genocidal massacre” in the Gaza Strip.

This was not the first time that Irving embroiled himself in a controversy involving accusations of antisemitism.

In Oct. 2022, while playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Irving tweeted a link to a film that promoted antisemitic disinformation, including conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. The Brooklyn Nets suspended him for five games when he did not immediately apologize — and even defended himself — for sharing the movie and failing to “disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so.”

The NBA star later apologized on Instagram for sharing details about a film that “contained some false antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.” He said he opposed all forms of hatred and would donate $500,000 toward organizations that combat hate. It was then reported in February that he deleted the Instagram apology.

The Anti-Defamation League rejected Irving’s donation of $500,000, and Nike severed its commercial ties with the NBA star.

Antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed across the US since the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7.

The post NBA’s Utah Jazz Told Rabbis to Remove ‘I’m a Jew and I’m Proud’ Signs During Game first appeared on

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Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals

The release of formerly classified documents from the 1986 Deschênes Commission—which investigated how Nazi war criminals entered Canada after the Second World War—reveals greater details about why the government was reluctant to prosecute them once they were in the country, says David Matas, the lawyer who represented B’nai Brith Canada at the inquiry. Canada released […]

The post Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government

The International Court of Justice in The Hague in session in January 2020. Photo: Reuters/Eva Plevier.

Dozens of South African immigrants to Israel protested against their former country’s government on Friday, standing with their new home against political and legal attacks from South Africa’s ruling ANC party, highlighted by accusing Israel of “genocide,” last Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

“The demonstration is not against South Africa or its people, but against its disgraceful government. I am proud to stand here as an Israeli, but I am ashamed of the government of my homeland, for stooping so low. It is a danger to Judaism,” said David Kaplan, an attendant of the event.

Former Knesset member Ruth Wasserman Lande, who was raised in Cape Town, South Africa before moving to Israel for military service, living in Israel since, added “Justice is with us, the ruling party of South Africa has sold its soul to Iran.”

The protest in Ra’anana in central Israel comes a few weeks after Israel was forced to stand trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against charges of “genocide” in its current defensive war against Hamas in Gaza. The charges were filed by South Africa’s government, a noted friend of Hamas leadership and outspoken critic of Israel and the Israeli government.

In South Africa’s case against Israel, the country alleges that the IDF is acting “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

The suit came as both countries are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, passed after the Holocaust and with the goal of creating proceedings to ensure no genocide like what happened to the Jews of Europe occurs in the future.

Israel said South Africa was acting as “the legal arm of Hamas,” and called the charges “baseless,” especially as the country has been noted to take unprecedented steps to protect civilians in the war. Furthermore, the war began after Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7, when they invaded southern Israel, murdering more than 1,200 and taking hostage over 240.

The ICJ refused to grant South Africa’s wish of calling for an immediate ceasefire, but nevertheless ruled to investigate the genocide charges and called on Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of [genocide].”

Even this past week South Africa continued its attacks, calling for the defunding of Israel, with Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor saying “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions.”

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Robert Kraft Antisemitism Nonprofit to Air Super Bowl Ad Featuring Associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and team owner Robert Kraft celebrate winning Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), a group created by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will air its first Super Bowl commercial when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11.

An estimated 100 million television viewers will see the commercial, which features Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a former legal adviser of civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones, according to FCAS, helped King draft the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Aug. 28, 1963.

“I know I can speak for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when I say without a doubt that the Civil Rights movement (including the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts) would not have occurred without the unwavering and largely unsung efforts of the Jewish people,” Jones said in a press release issued by FCAS. “With hate on the rise, it is as important as ever that all of us stand together and speak out. Silence is not an option. I’m glad that I’ve lived long enough to partner with Robert Kraft and FCAS to continue to spread the message to the widest possible audience — the Super Bowl.”

This year’s Super Bowl commercial mark’s FCAS’ biggest push to promote awareness of antisemitism since its founding in 2019. Last year, the nonprofit launched a $25 million multimedia campaign, which asked supporters to use the “Blue Square” emoji available on iOS devices in their social media posts.

FCAS has undertaken numerous other initiatives to address rising antisemitism.

In March 2023, it announced a partnership with Brandeis University, which will include a student fellowship program for undergraduates, conferences featuring leading experts on antisemitism, and collaborations with K-12 administrators. Additionally, Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Jewish Leadership Program will expand to include “Kraft Scholars,” who will participate in new online degree and certificate programs that will train them to respond to crises caused by antisemitic incidents.

Kraft, who led the remarkable transformation of the New England Patriots from a second tier club to an annual Super Bowl contender and winner of six such titles in under twenty years, founded FCAS after being awarded $1 million through Genesis Prize, an honor given to successful members of the Jewish community. FCAS focuses most of its resources on social media, aiming, it says, “to stand up against racist and violent rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people through the most accessible and most powerful avenue of information in the world.”

In a statement, Kraft, expressed hope for this latest campaign and praised Dr. Clarence Jones as an emblem of his FCAS’ highest aspirations.

“The work Dr. Jones has done over the course of his entire life and career is the embodiment of FCAS’ mission to build bridges and stand up to Jewish hate and all forms of hate. In the time we have spent together and through his work, I have become a huge fan of Dr. Jones, and I am proud to spotlight all that he has done for our nation,” he said. “With this ad, we hope to continue to spread Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of unity and equality at a time in which the country needs it mist most, and our goal is to reach a wide audience of people and inspire all Americans to stand up together, arm in arm, and fight this horrific rising hate.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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