University of Haifa
What passes for academic publication at the University
University of Haifa - Yuval Yonay (Dept of Sociology), anti-Israel
Marxist sociologist and expert on "Queer Studies," publishes
"academic" article claiming Israel silences its Arab athletes
Israeli media discourse is by and large
intolerant towards views that challenge its nationalistic
fundamentals. The same discursive rules are evident in the way both
the sport media and fans respond to opinions expressed by Arab
soccer players. While the talkbackers’ responses tend to be more
aggressive and vicious than those of journalists and commentators,
the spirit of the two groups studied is similar: both rebuff
Palestinian players’ political statements and refuse to sympathize
or engage with them in a serious dialogue.
When the Palestinian players dare to make
critical statements, a very common response is to draw a strict
dividing line between ‘clean’ sports and ‘dirty’ politics, claiming
that the former must remain clearly separated from the latter. ...
The public discourse puts them back ‘in their place’ and reminds
them that they are neither qualified nor have the moral authority to
represent the Arab public.
... Summarizing our findings, it is evident
that the Arab-Palestinian soccer players who excel on the turf are
prevented from serving as a channel to convey the voice of
Palestinian citizens in Israel. When they try to fulfil such a role,
they are vehemently silenced and sent back to the turf.
Paradoxically, the attempts of Arab-Palestinian politicians to carry
the same voice are also futile.
'Play and shut up': the silencing of
Palestinian athletes in Israeli media
Eran Shor and Yuval Yonay
Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 34 No. 2 February 2011 pp. 229_247
In this paper we contrast two opposing
theoretical views in the sociology of sport. The first sees sport as
a field that brings together different groups and bridges social
divides. In this view, minority sport stars serve both as role
models and as a mouthpiece voicing the feelings and needs of their
ethnic groups. The opposing view holds that the sport field reflects
the tendencies of the larger society, helping to maintain the social
dominance of hegemonic groups. In this view sport stars serve mostly
as tokens and have no real influence on the social order. Our
systematic analysis of Israeli media between the years 2002 and 2007
lends support to the latter view. We show that the expressions and
behaviours of Israeli Palestinian soccer players are consistently
policed and silenced by the Jewish-dominated media discourse,
effectively blocking one of the few channels of expression for the
Arab public in Israel.
For more details,
see the original article