Israeli Women’s Basketball Player Dor Saar: Our Irish Opponents are ‘Quite Antisemitic’

Well done to Israeli women’s basketball player Door Saar, for not holding back when it comes to their upcoming Irish opponents:

Ireland’s women’s basketball team is at the centre of a major antisemitism row over their Women’s European Championship qualifiers against Israel.

Basketball Ireland responded angrily on Wednesday to accusations by Israeli debutante Dor Sa’ar that the Irish side were known to be “quite anti-Semitic”.

Her comments, published on Tuesday on the Israeli Basketball Federation’s website, followed a statement last month by Basketball Ireland in which it said it had “raised strong concerns about these fixtures with Israel, including the option not to play the games” in light of the response to the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks there.

Telegraph Sport has been told some Irish players have opted not to travel for Thursday’s first of two qualifiers between the sides, which was postponed from its original November date due to the ongoing war in Gaza before being moved from Israel to Riga, Latvia.

The row has erupted amid major pressure from pro-Palestinian campaigners in Ireland for the national team to boycott the fixtures.

Sa’ar had said of the Irish side: “It’s known that they are quite anti-Semitic and it’s no secret, and maybe that’s why a strong game is expected.

“We have to show that we’re better than them and win. We talk about it among ourselves, We know they don’t like us and we will leave everything on the field always and in this game especially.”

Her comments prompted Basketball Ireland to lodge a formal complaint with competition organisers Fiba Europe.

It said in a statement: “Basketball Ireland is extremely disappointed by these accusations, which are both inflammatory and wholly inaccurate. Basketball Ireland would refute these allegations towards our players in the strongest possible terms and we have raised this matter with Fiba Europe.”

Basketball Ireland previously defended its decision to play Thursday’s game, saying in a statement last month doing so would incur “an effective five-year ban from competing at international level for our senior women’s team”.

It also said it would face a fine of up to €80,000 (£68,000), plus an additional €100,000 (£85,000) if it failed to fulfil a return fixture later this year.

Basketball Ireland chief executive John Feehan told RTE on Wednesday: “I’m pretty sure we’d be hit pretty hard because we did actually ask was there an alternative to playing this game and all the rest of it, and from that perspective there isn’t.”

Feehan said that “money is everything” to an organisation like his, adding: “Not only would we be out of international competition for the next five years but it would probably take us another five years to get back to where we are now, so, in real terms, we’d lose a generation of players.

“What’s happening in Gaza is dreadful, we all acknowledge that. The issue is whether this is going to make a difference to the Israeli government and, quite frankly, we don’t believe this would make a blind bit of difference.

“What it will do is destroy our women’s international game for the next 10 years.”

Irish Sport for Palestine called for Basketball Ireland to boycott the game, and claimed playing it would be “ruinous” for the organisation’s reputation.

“John Feehan claims boycotting the game against Israel would be ‘ruinous’ for Basketball Ireland,” said Irish Sport for Palestine. “Well, Irish Sport for Palestine says not in our name, and that playing with Israel will forever be ‘ruinous’ for his and Basketball Ireland’s reputation. They must commit to boycotting the Israeli match now.”

Fiba Europe said Thursday’s game would be played behind closed doors over security concerns.

Sa’ar was no doubt referring to this disgraceful behavior of the Irish team:

Five players from the Irish women’s national basketball team have announced their decision to boycott the upcoming European Championship qualifier against Israel, the Irish Times newspaper is reporting. The players cited the ongoing war in Gaza as the reason behind their boycott. They are scheduled to play in less than two weeks in Riga.

Rebecca O’Keefe, a former player, has called on other athletes to follow their lead and criticized the Irish union for allowing such a situation to arise.

The upcoming Eurobasket qualifying campaign, which includes the first game in the competition for Israel’s national team, has sparked significant controversy in Ireland in recent days. The previous group of games, including one against Ireland, was postponed due to the outbreak of the war in Gaza. The Irish association, according to O’Keefe, allegedly made efforts to prevent the matches against Israel from taking place.

The Irish Basketball Association recently made an announcement stating that players will not face fines or suspensions if they choose to boycott the game. Additionally, the association released an official statement claiming that FIBA has “forced” them to play against Israel. The statement further outlined that a fine of 100,000 euros would be imposed if the team fails to participate in the second game, scheduled for November in Dublin. Moreover, the team would face suspension from the EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers and the EuroBasket 2027 qualifiers.

“We have taken into account the opinions expressed by the players, team members, and the entire basketball community in Ireland, and we understand their concerns,” the association added. “We have thoroughly considered whether to participate in the games against Israel and have also engaged in discussions with government ministries. However, given the current circumstances, FIBA Europe has declined to support a boycott of Israel, therefore we are obliged to participate in the game on February 8.”

Israel’s women’s team is proceeding with their regular preparations for the game against Ireland, which will take place in the capital of Latvia. It is worth noting that the Israeli Basketball Association had previously approached the Irish Association in an attempt to switch home teams, but their request was declined.

“We are disappointed that the Irish did not show solidarity and did not adhere to the spirit of sportsmanship, unlike many other associations and teams across Europe,” the basketball association said last month in a statement. “We extend our gratitude to FIBA Europe for their support, as well as to the Latvian association for hosting the women’s team. They have been demonstrating their exemplary hospitality for over a year and a half, hosting the Ukrainian national teams, which reflects their exceptional character.”

Players boycotting Israel, and players and officials blindly siding with Hamas-run Gaza while expressing a desire to boycott Israel – at a time we are still reeling from Hamas’ October 7 atrocities – are not mere “legitimate criticism of Israel.” These actions and words absolutely point to antisemitism.

And let’s be honest. Ireland is, in general, a cesspool of Jew-hatred (although it is important to note that there are decent, moral Irish people who firmly stand with Israel, albeit too few).

Here’s to Israel pummeling Ireland in their game.

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