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It’s Just Not Cricket

This from Australia, one of the more comfortable places in the world for Jews to live.

MCKINNON Cricket Club has suspended players it suspects may have been involved in posting antisemitic comments directed towards the Maccabi AJAX Cricket Club on an internet site.

Players from both McKinnon and Beaumaris cricket clubs posted several remarks on a page of the social networking site Facebook, called “FU AJAX Cricket Club”.

The pages were removed from the website on Tuesday just as cricket officials and media outlets became aware of their existence. It remains unclear who was responsible for closing down the pages.

McKinnon Cricket Club president, Stuart Hampstead, distanced the club from the remarks posted by some of its members and confirmed that there would be a full investigation.

“Any remarks made in no way represent the views or opinions of the McKinnon Cricket Club,” Hampstead said in a statement.

“We deeply regret that the allegations involve our cricket club and we will do all in our power to remedy any impact that these allegations have on our relationship with the Ajax Cricket Club and cricket in general.”

Hampstead said that club will stamp down heavily on those involved, including possibly issuing life bans.

Cricket Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide branded those behind the internet postings as “morons” who had “tainted not just their clubs but cricket in general”.

He said he had asked the McKinnon and Beaumaris clubs to report back to his association about how the postings came to be reported on the internet.

“We’re totally shocked that this could be happen anywhere in the cricket community,” Dodemaide told the AJN.

“Racial and religious vilification has no place in cricket in Victoria or Australia and those who propagate material such as this have no place in our competitions.”

All registered Victorian cricketers are bound by Cricket Australia’s racial and religious vilification policy and Dodemaide said that depending on the outcome of the reports he receives from the two clubs, the players involved may appear before disciplinary hearings from which suspensions could be imposed.

Beaumaris Cricket Club member Alex Strauch was one of the contributors to the Facebook page. His post said: “Being of German heritage, I think I need to apologise for ACC to still be in existence, my grandparents tried to get them all… but it’s easier said than done when they are walking around in the sewers looking for change…”

When contacted by the AJN, Strauch said that he regretted making the comments on the Facebook site, but defended his right to freedom of speech.

“I mean … I can say what I like. But it’s just a matter of stupidity in where you say it or where you write it rather and I probably did it in the wrong spot.”

“I just wrote it as sort of a fun joke to fit in with the rest of the group.”

Maccabi AJAX president Jamie Hyams said he was disgusted by the attack on his club. “This is the sort of thing you would expect to find on the most extreme Neo-Nazi website, not from a bunch of guys you play cricket against each year,” he said.

“If they think the Holocaust was a joke, I’d be happy to take them for a tour of the Holocaust Museum and see how funny they think it is.”

Jewish Community Council Of Victoria president Anton Block said it was disappointing to learn that the remarks came from cricketers whose clubs were located in areas where there are sizeable Jewish populations.

“It just smacks of ignorance and lack of education. These people live in our midst and are going to be exposed on a regular basis to Jewish people because of where they live. It can’t be that they have never seen a Jew and they get some indoctrinate about Jewish people. None of that.”

Update: Alex Strauch has since modified his “What I said was ok, just where I said it was stupid” approach, and has written an apology letter – probably a precondition for being admitted back in to the team.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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