A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

all yellows are not created equal: two flags

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 19, 2006

On my way to the airport Saturday morning I watched the road through sleepy eyes. Unsurprisingly, there were few cars.

One appeared some distance in front of us, a flag in a familiar shade of yellow draped across its rear window.

Oh, I thought snoozily, they support Hezbollah here too. The thought was somehow comforting – I felt closer to Lebanon, and more at home thanks to the appearance of something familiar.

As we drew closer, I realized that I had erred. Who would post a Hezbollah flag while driving from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv?

This was the design on the flag that I saw:


This is the design (in black here, though the standard is green) on Hizbullah’s flag:



In other words: not the same.

Curious, I searched for more information on Beitar online … and realized just how grave an error I had made.

Beitar is the name of a Jerusalem football club, notorious for its refusal to accept Arab players and its fans anti-Arab racism.

A November 25, 2006 article in the Guardian described a typical Beitar match as follows:

“[On August 27, 2006], Beitar fans were living down to their reputation when at least 7,000 travelled to their opening match against arch-rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv. ‘We hate Arabs and Muslims,’ shouted 19-year-old fan Eliran, a member of Beitar’s La Familia hooligan gang. ‘If any Arab played for Beitar, we’d burn their ass and burn the club. They’re our enemy.’

For the duration of the game the travelling contingent chanted anti-Arab songs, threw half-eaten pretzels at the referee and, later, rioted in Tel Aviv’s southern suburbs to celebrate their team’s 2-1 victory. Even Ossie Ardiles, briefly Beitar’s manager this year and a man who knows a thing or two about prejudice as an Argentine who played in England in the aftermath of the Falklands War, has reservations about signing an Arab. ‘If there was [an Arab] player good enough I’d think about bringing him here,’ he told me. ‘But the Teddy is a special place and I don’t know if an Arab player can play with this level of animosity from our own supporters. Yes, of course, I would prefer this feeling didn’t exist, but it does.'”




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