Saturday, February 24, 2024

Irish women’s basketball team refused to shake hands with Israel

The Irish women’s national basketball team refused to shake hands with the Israeli basketball team at the first match of FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 Qualifiers held in Riga, Latvia.

Basketball Ireland had informed FIBA Europe already that its team will do away with the traditional pre-match arrangements like “exchanging of gifts, formal handshakes… lining up for national anthem by our bench, rather than centre court.” 

The social media post made by Basketball Ireland a few minutes before the match expressed its disappointment at the “inflammatory and wholly inaccurate accusations of anti-semitism, published on official Israeli Federation channels.”

On Tuesday, the Israel Basketball Association published an interview of Israeli player Dor Saar where she said, “It’s known that they are quite antisemitic 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”, she added in the interview.

Earlier, FIBA, the International Basketball Federation had expelled both Russia and Belarus for their aggression on Ukraine, but it shamefully welcomes Israel’s participation and membership despite the genocide. 

Recently, the Israel Basketball Association also shared pictures of the IDF visiting the basketball team of Israel during their training sessions. 

In the past few weeks, the women’s team and various high-profile Irish sports persons were calling for boycotting the match with Israel owing to the ongoing genocide. Many of them had also formed a group called Irish Sport for Palestine, which condemned Basketball Ireland for not cancelling the match with Israel. 

The game was originally scheduled for November last year in Israel. But, due to the ongoing genocide, Basketball Ireland had requested to postpone the game and shift the venue to a more neutral venue.

Ireland was the first EU member state to declare that an independent and sovereign state of Palestine was necessary to coexist with Israel.


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