update deskIsrael at War

South Africa strips Jewish cricketer of captaincy

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies criticized the decision as "shameful."

South Africa’s Under-19 team stripped Jewish cricketer David Teeger of his captaincy on Jan. 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
South Africa’s Under-19 team stripped Jewish cricketer David Teeger of his captaincy on Jan. 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

South Africa’s Under-19 team on Friday stripped Jewish cricketer David Teeger of his captaincy, citing “concerns for his safety” following pro-Israel comments he made ahead of the kickoff of the World Cup.

“As is the case with all such events, [Cricket South Africa] has been receiving regular security and risk updates regarding the World Cup. We have been advised that protests related to the war in Gaza can be anticipated at the venues for the tournament,” according to a statement by the governing body.

“We have also been advised that they are likely to focus on the position of the SA Under-19 (SA U19) captain, David Teeger, and that there is a risk that they could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors,” it added.

The statement said that “CSA has a primary duty to safeguard the interests and safety of all those involved in the World Cup and must accordingly respect the expert advice of those responsible for the safety of participants and spectators.

“…CSA has decided that David should be relieved of the captaincy for the tournament. This is in the best interests of all the players, the SA U19 team and David himself. David will remain an important and active member of the squad and we wish him and the team every success in the tournament,” concluded the statement.

In October, Teeger was recognized with a “rising star” honor at a Jewish awards ceremony.

“Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and yes, I’m now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel,” Teeger said at the time. “And I’d like to dedicate it to the State of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the Diaspora.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) criticized Teeger’s removal as captain as “an outrageous act of antisemitism.”

“There is no basis for this decision, other than the fact that Teeger is Jewish,” according to a statement by SAJBD national chairperson Karen Milner.

“This is not the first time that Jews have been excluded from sporting bodies in our history. It is shameful that CSA is embarking on a path that is dangerously reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when Jews were actively discriminated against, including among sporting clubs. The SAJBD will do everything in its power to fight against this vicious prejudice. There is no place for Jew-hatred and any form of discrimination in South Africa,” added Milner.

Last week, the South African government filed a genocide complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice demanding an immediate end to the military operation against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Foreign Ministry accused Pretoria of acting as Hamas’s “legal arm.”

“Today, we were witness to one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history, compounded by a series of false and baseless claims,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat.

South Africa “utterly distorted the reality in Gaza following the Oct. 7 massacre and completely ignored the fact that Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, murdered, executed, massacred, raped and abducted Israeli citizens… in an attempt to carry out genocide,” added Haiat.

Pretoria’s case at The Hague “seeks to allow Hamas to return to commit the war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual crimes they committed repeatedly on Oct. 7, as its leaders have stated,” he charged.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night noted the “hypocritical onslaught at The Hague” in a speech marking 100 days of Israel’s war against Hamas.

“In the murder tunnels of Gaza, our forces have found copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In a home in Gaza, they found a child’s tablet with a picture of Hitler as the screensaver. Not for nothing did German Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz, after viewing the atrocities of the Oct. 7 massacre, say: ‘Hamas are the new Nazis,’” said the prime minister.

“The State of Israel, the IDF and our security services are fighting a moral and just war that is without parallel against the Hamas monsters, the new Nazis. This international campaign of denigration will not weaken either our hand or our determination to fight until the end, because something has changed in the history of our people,” he continued.

“The antisemitism is the same antisemitism, but the status of the Jewish people has fundamentally changed. Because today we have a state. Today we have defense forces and heroic soldiers to protect our people. What happened on Oct. 7 will not happen again. This is our mission. This is our obligation,” he added.

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