Fuelling nationalistic flames: Beitar play the Trump card with renaming

By Andrew Warshaw

May 14 – Israel’s most right-wing club has taken its ethos to unpredecented new levels of nationalistic pride by officially adding the word Trump to its name following the US president’s decision to relocate his embassy in the country to the divided city.

Beitar Jerusalem say they will from now on be rebranded as Beitar Trump Jerusalem to honour Donald Trump’s highly controversial and provocative move to switch the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

In the face of global opposition, Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital drew praise and scorn in equal measure from Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

“President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status,” the club wrote in on its Facebook page.

“The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add to the club’s title the name of the American President who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem.

“Beitar Jerusalem, one of the most prominent symbols of the city, are happy to honour the President for his love and support with a gesture of our own.”

Israeli reports suggest that despite Beitar’s uniliteral announcement to officially change its name, it will require approval from the Israel Football Association.

Beitar Jerusalem is the only club in the Israeli Premier League to have never fielded an Arab Muslim player with a reputation for anti-Arab prejudice. Last year a newly appointed professional adviser to the club, Eli Cohen, quit a mere 10 days after assuming the post for refusing to apologise for declaring he would never sign a Muslim player.

Cohen – who had just begun his fourth stint at the club – sparked a furore when he told a local  newspaper that he wouldn’t bring in a Muslim player because he was a “realistic person.”  Three years previously fans burned down the club’s training complex after the signing of two Muslim players.

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