American-Israeli basketball star shares thoughts on antisemitism in sports

American-Israeli basketball star Tal Brody hosted a conference led by the World Zionist Organization geared towards fighting antisemitism in the run-up to International Holocaust Remembrance Day.Brody spoke about being the only Jewish player at his college in the United States, and his efforts to encourage more Jewish participation in basketball as an goodwill ambassador to Israel for nearly a decade.”If we look at what is happening in terms of sports, technology, medicine, medical devices, agriculture, etc, Israel is on the map in everything and not just in sports and it is amazing,” Brody said in his address.He then addressed antisemitism in sports, and additionally the Abraham Accords signed just recently between Arab-Muslim countries and Israel.”The changes that have taken place in the Middle East are phenomenal,” Broday said. “Israeli competitors have never competed in Abu Dhabi and Qatar with Jewish symbols or the Israeli flag, and in 2018 when they played the Israeli national anthem with Sagi Muki’s victory in Abu Dhabi, it was indescribably exciting.””That was the first time in history. That we let our judoka play with the Israeli emblem with the Star of David on their shirts,” he added. That brought me back to my time as a young basketball player in college in the US, when I was playing with a chain sporting mezuzah, so that anyone who did not know I was Jewish could not miss it.”He then addressed the BDS movement in sports, as it has intensified throughout recent years and compared it in regard with the recent change in tides throughout the Middle East.

“These things are changing in the Middle East thanks to Abraham Accords, and will prevent a lot of antisemitic [rhetoric],” Brody noted, detailing a personal story of his where he was directly exposed to antisemitism. “I once went to some campus and there was an ‘apartheid evening’ and I asked one of the students why he went to the event, and he answered, ‘there are burgers and hot dogs for free as well as a free drink to hear a speech,’ and then kept going.”

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