Argentinian soccer team boycotts Israel — and ‘NY Times’ whitewash fails to quote a single player

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Gonzalo Higuaín is a striker on Argentina’s national soccer team that is headed for the World Cup in Russia next week. After Argentina canceled a scheduled warm up “friendly” match against Israel set for June 9, reporters approached Higuaín for comment. “They’ve finally done the right thing” he said, and the Guardian report put his comment in the second paragraph.

The BBC did exactly the same. Higuaín’s quote is also paragraph 2. “They’ve finally done the right thing.”

The New York Times faced a dilemma. How to downplay this stinging defeat for Israel in world opinion? The Times has a correspondent in Buenos Aires, Daniel Politi, and here’s what he did in today’s sports pages; he did not quote Higuaín or any other player for Argentina. Instead, he spent 22 paragraphs partly peddling an alternate conspiracy theory: that Argentina canceled not for political reasons, but because the team feared “violence” from Palestinians. (Some pro-Palestinian activists had been waving bloody shirts at a peaceful demonstration in Barcelona, where the Argentine team is fine-tuning before Russia.) .

The article at least pointed out that Israel’s sports minister, the notorious Miri Regev, had moved the scheduled match from Haifa to Jerusalem, a propaganda ploy meant to imply a stronger endorsement of Israel.

There was one tantalizing hint in the New York Times about the Argentine players themselves. An Argentine government official told the Times that “(Argentine president Mauricio) Macri apologized to (Benjamin) Netanyahu but said if the players don’t want to go there was nothing he could do.”

At this point, an honest reporter would have raced to interview as many of the players as possible to find out why they “don’t want to go.” Instead, the Times just took dictation from Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who accused the team of giving in to “the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters, whose only goal was to harm our basic right to self-defense and bring about the destruction of Israel.”

H/T Scott Roth 

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Big photo of Palestinian protesters in London on the front page of today’s print edition of the Guardian. Netanyahu appears to have come away from his trip round Berlin, Paris and London empty-handed. Sadly, no European Arrest Warrant issued for him.

Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation: “After last month’s killings, the shameful argument that any protest against Israeli human-rights violations is inherently anti-Semitic, especially the peaceful calls for BDS in response to these crimes, simply carries no moral weight. The Argentina national team is one of the most high-profile… Read more »

WaPo story (by Ruth Eglash datelined Jerusalem) tells the same false story: cancellation provoked by threats.

Sports teams are filling the void left by government inaction.

This was a massive kick in the nuts for Zionism. Argentina told Israel to fuck off. Messi is adored in Israel. Meanwhile the NYT has chosen to place itself in sick company. It is no different to the pro slavery newspapers of the pre Civil war South