Maccabi Tel Aviv released an official response Wednesday to the torrent of anti-Semitic tweets aimed at their Sunday Euroleague victory, saying the team is "shocked" and "disappointed" at the stream of hate expressed in its aftermath.
"Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball wishes to express its shock and disappointment at the hurtful discriminatory comments made on social media networks following Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague Championship win in Milan on Sunday," they stated. "The joy and elation shared throughout Israel and the Jewish world in the wake of Maccabi’s Euroleague championship was not just a celebration of basketball excellence, but a celebration of the triumph of Maccabi’s core values. Israel’s emergence as a global basketball hub is anchored in its affirmation that regardless of race, religion or nationality, communities can unite around a shared passion for the game we love."
Maccabi Tel Aviv General Manager Danny Federman noted the sick irony of the anti-Semitism which has emerged following the victory, as the team's colors were chosen to reflect solidarity with Jews persecuted during the Holocaust.
“Our trademark yellow was adopted by the club in the 1940’s as a sign of solidarity with the Jews of Europe who were persecuted by the Nazis and forced to wear a yellow star," Federman stated. "Maccabi took something that was a mark of shame, and did what we could to make it a symbol that would generate pride and unity."
"It is very disappointing to see the rush of anti-Semitism following a well fought competition, but we are proud to wear colors that symbolize unity, togetherness and respect for all peoples," he continued. "We will continue to look to the future and work with our fellow Euroleague competitors and fans to promote the game and share the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie we have enjoyed over the past 50 years."
“Maccabi Tel Aviv takes great pride in its role as global ambassadors for the state of Israel and the Jewish people," Maccabi Tel Aviv President Shimon Mizrahi added. "The hateful remarks we have seen this week, and the subsequent global condemnation of them, serve both as a reminder of how far we have come in the fight against ignorance and racism, and how far we still must go.”
Jewish associations said Tuesday that Twitter users in Spain posted 17,500 messages of anti-Semitic abuse after Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid on Sunday to win the Euroleague Championship.
Twelve Jewish groups in the northeastern Catalonia region lodged a legal complaint over the messages, which they said flooded the Twitter network after Maccabi's 98-86 win.
Angry Spanish supporters created an expletive anti-Semitic hashtag in their messages after the match, which briefly became one of the most popular keywords on Twitter in Spain.
The news sparked shock and alarm among both Jewish groups and international media, both of which are still reeling from a recent Anti-Defamation League poll showing that over 25% - or one billion - of the Earth's population hold anti-Semitic views.