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International athletic community unites against antisemitism

A statement of solidarity has been signed by members of the international athletic community to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Davidson Men's Basketball Team Journey Of Remembrance to Auschwitz
Davidson Men's Basketball Team Journey Of Remembrance to Auschwitz

Athletes Against Antisemitism and Discrimination (AAAD), a consortium founded in July 2023 by the Benjamin Ferencz Institute for Ethics, Human Rights and the Holocaust in conjunction with CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, has partnered with the Jewish Coaches Association (JCA) to release a statement of solidarity signed by members of the international athletic community to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Athletes Stand Together Against Antisemitism Solidarity Statement was created in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel and the resulting surge in global antisemitism. The statement has over 50 signatures, including several internationally renowned members of the athletic community, such as Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl, ESPN basketball analyst Seth Greenberg, Fox Sports broadcaster Doug Gottlieb, former American-Israeli professional basketball player Tamir Goodman, retired NBA and international coach Herb Brown, Global Ambassador for the Maccabi World Union Ido Aharoni Aronoff, and former NCAA and NBA coach Larry Shyatt. Other signatories include student and professional athletes, NBA assistant coaches, collegiate and professional scouts, athletic department historians, team podiatrists, sports journalists and consultants.

Recently retired Davidson men’s basketball coach and head of the AAAD consortium Bob McKillop traveled to Auschwitz with the Davidson team and Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor in 2018. He stated, “As we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the liberation of Auschwitz, it is vital for all of us to remember that the Holocaust started with words and the spread of misinformation and hate speech. With the recent surge in antisemitism, we need people who are willing to use their platform to stand up against this type of hate and injustice and serve as role models for the respect and dignity of all human life. The Athletes Against Antisemitism and Discrimination Solidarity Statement is a way for the athletic community to unite in support of the dignity and sanctity of all people.”

The goal of AAAD is to engage athletes—both at the student level and beyond—and empower them to use their platform to help raise awareness regarding the Holocaust, antisemitism and other forms of identity-based hate. The Athletes Stand Together Against Solidarity Statement encourages athletes to educate themselves about the situation in Israel and “use their platform to address the ways in which Hamas is perpetrating human rights abuses towards both Israelis and Palestinians who suffer under Hamas’ rule in Gaza.” While recognizing and commending those athletes, teams and organizations who have publicly condemned the terrorist attacks and spoken out against antisemitism, the statement emphasizes the importance of creating a new generation of change agents who can serve as role models.

“The power of sports to unite people is often underestimated,” said Dr. Stacy Gallin, director of the Ferencz Institute and the AAAD consortium. “Athletes have a unique platform with which they can raise awareness and foster dialogue. The Athletes Stand Together Against Antisemitism Solidarity Statement is a way for people in the world of sports to recognize and speak out against antisemitism. It’s an opportunity to lead by example and very clearly express that hatred and injustice have no place in athletics, nor should they have any place in society.”

More information on the solidarity statement can be found at: https://ferenczinstitute.org/athletes-stand-together-against-antisemitism/

For media inquiries, email stacygallin@ferenczinstitute.org.

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